This week’s column is on making bacon. Seriously, try this. It’s so easy and so, so good. And how about the Trib’s new site design? It has a few bugs but it’s very clean. I like clean.
Posts Tagged ‘Charcuterie’
When confronted with a menu item that pairs braised pork belly with two additional porcine manifestations, certain assumptions can be made. Namely, that I will order it and that it will be good. Such was the case at Sycamore last night. A generous portion of braised pork belly came out with smoked pork loin, bacony greens and roasted sweet potatoes. It was easily enough food for two people to share and it got me thinking. Does anyone else in town have pork belly on the menu right now?
So it was 5:00 yesterday and I was on my way home with no idea what to make for dinner. The wife’s gone so it had to be something I could do quickly, perhaps with a little one on the hip. I was stopping into Clover’s for a couple of items anyway and wandered over to check out the produce. I have a weakness for collard greens, so baby collards jumped right out. The plan started to come together…
Bacon is a wonderful thing. It can be sweet, savory, crunchy and chewy; occasionally all at the same time. It is a wonder of the food world, temptress of vegetarians and it should be your friend. After all, a calorie is a calorie, whether it’s a gram of fat or a gram of a banana. Fat doesn’t make us fat, eating too many calories does.
With that in mind (and with bacon-scented clothing), I present homemade bacon.
A new cookbook – can you ever have too many? – has got me ordering obscure salts online and curing obscure pig parts in the extra fridge. It’s Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn and it’s pure, food-worshiping joy. Plainly put, charcuterie is a French term for meat preservation and this tome has it all. I’ve started with another pork belly (for bacon) and also had the Crockers cut a jowl for me. Pork jowls usually go into sausage, part of the reason why sausage is so damned tasty. But cured and dried on its own, the lowly, disrespected jowl becomes the great Italian cured meat, guanciale (gwahnchee-AH-lay).
Easy to execute and with in-depth reportage of the origins and geographic rationales behind all of the recipes, Charcuterie is part cookbook, part historical guide. It’s also been a best selling food book for several years now so I know there have got to be people in Columbia doing this stuff. I only know of one other guy right now, surely there are more. It’s just too easy, too affordable and too much fun for there not to be.
So c’mon, anyone else curing meats in town?