So this week two types of salami, Tuscan and orange-cardamom, that were hung within 10 days of each other were ripe enough to harvest. Both of these appear in the slide show below.
The first salami in the show was from a recipe that was inspired by the suggestion from Christian the Apprentice that we try something with cardamom and orange. I did not go for the idea at first because while I knew that cardamom and orange share many complementary aromatic elements, I did not love the idea of citrus flavored fermented pork. The concept was too hippy-dippy, too new age-ish. It had that someone smoked too much pot, had the munchies and tried to recreate an olfactory hallucination in the kitchen ring to it.
Then something happened to change my mind: I was served an antipasto in a very busy locally popular restaurant that had a slice of citrus flavored salami on it. Well, that salami sucked-it had no distinct flavor- but the lesson I learned was that if someone else was making citrus flavored salami and selling it, then perhaps Christian's idea had some merit after all. So, upon my return to the farm the following week, I commanded the apprentice to get some oranges and I worked up and recipe.
The orange flavor comes from orange zest only, no orange juice was used because I get nervous over the idea of lower the pH (making acidic) or any type of sausage by any means other than fermentation. I've had too many bad experiences with sausage that have been seasoned with something acidic and have ended up throwing water and drying out. (Long story in this but the skinny is that when you lower the pH of meat, the proteins begin to lose their attraction for water. )
In addition to the orange-cardamom salami you see in the slide show we made another version with pistachio nuts that's great too, but not pictured here because I forgot to shoot it.
The second set of photos show the smaller form of the giant Tuscan style salami featured in this earlier post . It is an almost literal version of a recipe that appears in the book Charcuterie, by my friend Michael Ruhlman and the Michiginese chef and salumaio, Brian Polcyn.
I'm sure the large chunks of fat are going to give some people the heebie-jeebies, but they taste great and do a bang up job of adding lubricity to the matrix. The overall flavor is deep, nutty and when compared to the other ancient -which is ironic when you consider that it's less than two weeks older.