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CHARCUTERIE:THE CRAFT OF SALTING, SMOKING, AND CURING
Author: Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn
Publisher: W.W. NORTON & COMPANY, Feb 2009
Expands the definition to include anything preserved or prepared ahead such as Mediterranean olives, duck confit, & pickles. 125 recipes include salted air-dried ham; crab, scallop & saffron terrine; breakfast sausages; mortadella & soppressata; & more. Illus; 10x8 inches, 330 pgs.
One of the most intriguing and important cookbooks published this year. Ruhlman (The Soul of a Chef) is a food poet, and the pig is his muse. On witnessing a plate of cold cuts in Italy, he is awed by "the way the sunlight hit the fat of the dried meats, the way it glistened, the beauty of the meat." He relates and refines the work of Polcyn, a chef-instructor at a college in Livonia, Mich., who butchers a whole hog "every couple weeks for his students." Together, they make holy the art of stuffing a sausage, the brining of a corned beef and the poaching of a salted meat in its own fat. An extensive chapter on p?t?s and terrines is entitled "The Cinderella Meat Loaf" and runs the gamut from exotic Venison Terrine with Dried Cherries to hearty English Pork Pie with a crust made from both lard and butter. And while there's no shortage of lyricism, science plays an equally important role. Everyone knows salt is a preservative, for example, but here we learn exactly how it does its job. And a section on safety issues weighs the dangers of nitrites and explains the difference between good white mold and the dangerous, green, fuzzy stuff. Line drawings.
Introduction: The reason for this food, this book : why we still love & need hand-preserved foods in the age of the refrigerator, the frozen dinner, Domino's pizza & the 24-hour grocery store -- Recipes for salt-cured food : salt : how the most powerful tool in your kitchen transforms the humble into the sublime -- Recipes for smoked food : smoke : the exotic seasoning -- Sausage : the power & the glory : animal fat, salt, & the pig come together in one of the oldest, divine-yet-humble, culinary creations known to humankind -- Recipes for dry-cured food : the artist & the sausage : techniques & recipes for individualistic, idiosyncratic & temperamental dry-cured meats -- Pates & terrines : the cinderella meat loaf -- The confit technique : fat : the perfect cooking environment -- Recipes to accompany charcuterie : sauces & condiments : not optional.
Charcuterie - a culinary specialty that originally referred to the creation of pork products such as salami, sausages & prosciutto - is true food craftsmanship, the art of turning preserved food into items of beauty & taste. Today the term encompasses a vast range of preparations, most of which involve salting, cooking, smoking & drying. In addition to providing classic recipes for sausages, terrines & pates, Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn expand the definition to include anything preserved or prepared ahead such as Mediterranean olive & vegetable rillettes, duck confit, & pickles & sauerkraut. 125 recipes include salted air-dried ham; crab, scallop & saffron terrine; breakfast sausages; mortadella & soppressata; & even spicy smoked almonds.