Though I didn't do a very good job at keeping pace with my Charcutepalooza brethren, and flat out missed a few posts, I did want to share these lovelies with you because they turned out so well. They were far superior to all but the best artisinal salamis you'll find around these days, fragrant with just the right amount of chew, and exhibit a great fennel flavor. I timed them to be fully cured, dried and ready to eat when our guests arrived for Thanksgiving (because quite frankly, we wouldn't have had nearly enough food for everyone otherwise). Once my nephew's recovered from their shock of finding what appeared to be dismembered penises hanging in my wine closet, these were a huge hit and enjoyed by all.
Yes, you read that right I just said the "P" word. Of course, that's not the word they used because as teen-aged boys they would rather have their eyes gouged out with red-hot pokers than to say penis in front of their parents. I believe the word they used was "wieners", as in….
"OMG Uncle Steve, what's with all the "wieners" you have hanging in the basement (giggle-giggle), they are so nasty…..are they part of some science experiment or something?"
And then whispering among themselves:
"I don't know where he got them, but I'm sleeping on my stomach tonight just in-case."
As with all my other charcuterie posts I won't be sharing the recipe for these darlings here, but instead will urge any of you ready to try your hand at making meat to buy Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn's terrific book on the subject, Charcuterie. In it you'll find page after page of delicious recipes as well as a list of trusted resources for some of the harder to come by ingredients needed to make some of these treats. You know, things like hog casings, curing salt and bacterial cultures. None of the stuff is expensive and making your own meats couldn't be easier, requiring just a bit of care in the sanitation department and a tad of patience as you wait for your raw meat to transform into an edible delight.
As I've said before, any of you out there with kids of "science fair" age could have a blast crafting a bit of charcuterie with them as a project, and eat well in the process. I'd be willing to bet that a few slices of this delicious salami slipped to the judges just before voting would go a long way in securing a blue-ribbon outcome. Not that I'm suggesting that you try to bribe your way to a good grade…..um…well…. actually, I guess that's exactly what I'm suggesting. Good Luck!
Cheers – Steve