Salami making

When I got the pigs I was all, “Yeah, I’ll be making proscuitto and salami.” But do I know how to make those items? Er, no.
Thank the dumpster gods, then, when William and I were knee deep in the Eccolo restaurant’s dumpster (the best d-ster in the East Bay because it’s such high quality) and one of the cooks came out to talk to us.
“Yeah, I got these two hungry pigs,” I told him, stuffing plate scraps into a bucket.
“You should really talk to Chris Lee,” he said.
“Is he the main chef?” I asked.
“Yeah, and the owner.”
A few weeks later I had to go to Sur la Table (meat grinder), and I stopped in at Eccolo and asked to talk to Chris.
A tall man with big eyes and a lovely soft-spoken manner came out to chat with me, the Insane Lady.
I told him about the pig project and confessed to dumpster diving, and could he help me learn about making salami?
Incredibly, his answer was yes.
This past week I began my salami tutorial with Chris. So far I’ve observed how to make a variety of pork-cured products: coppa, pancetta, salami, sausage, and proscuitto. Chris is a great teacher, he studied with Italian salami-makers and butchers. He’s one of the only chefs in the area who makes his own cured meat products.
Yesterday I stopped by to watch the salami get painted with penicillin and then Chris “opened up” a proscuitto. The big legs have been hanging in the breezeway for nearly two years! After Chris cut away the fat rind layer, underneath was a lovely deep red meat with streaks of fat. On a meat cutter, Chris shaved the meat into some fine ribbons. I had a momentary dilemma: I’m on the 100-yard diet. Can I really eat some of this meat?
In the end, the fact that this was just a taste, and Chris had worked on it for two years! Two years! I couldn’t refuse. It tasted nutty and rich on the top of the mouth, hearty and earthy.
Next time you’re at Eccolo, order the salumi plate. Ok?
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go eat some fried vegetables or some crap.

One response to “Salami making

  1. salumi! *swooning*

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