Six weeks ago Becky Selengut and I started another batch of salami. You may remember, dear reader, that we threw the last batch we made in trash, because I considered the salt percentage too low to be safe.
Well, I am proud to say that this salami cured pretty much perfectly, and quite frankly is one of the tastiest things on earth. How is that for a kick in the pants to my usual modesty?
Becky came over today, we sliced some up, and compared tasting notes. I couldn’t talk, I had too much salami in my mouth. Her’s was perhaps the best analysis:
“wow, the first taste is bay, the middle taste is all porky flavor, and it ends in… YUM”
She hit the nail on the head. This one is pretty heavy on the bay. The first slice you get a lot of it. Chew through your second slice, and you start noticing the subtle notes of the pork coming through. By the time you have reached your 4th or 5th slice, you start to notice the fennel and port in there a bit too. After that you start to pick up some subtle pepper tones.
Perhaps one of the greatest things with curing meat is just how long these cuts have to let flavors develop. This thing hung for about 6 weeks. All that time bacteria’s are doing their work. Flavors are developing. The booze notes are mellowing. Meat slowly becomes infused with everything you mixed in to it.
SIX WEEKS of flavor development.
That has to yield a really pretty incredibly complex flavor profile. It does just that. I must have eaten 20 slices today, and each slice you notice something else. Flavors bounce off each other nicely. Some slices are more meat, some a little more fat. There is always that bay undertone which is quite frankly just lovely (especially since bay is my favorite of herbs in the cooler months).
The white that you can see in the photos is mold. It looks like it is wrapped in moldy paper, right? That is actually the beef intestine casing the salami was stuffed in to. The casing thins right out during the curing process, to a thickness of thin paper. Even though it is pretty dry, it can still let moisture in and out – letting the meat cure further. I might well keep one of these salami for another couple of months, and see how the flavors are then.
Something like this is best served by itself. Include some bread if you wish. You could also make it part of a larger course, with some a few side dishes. Maybe some lentils cooked with a bone and meat left over from Easter?
Making charcuterie is now a full on addiction. Heck, a few years down the road I might even open up shop. And that, I can promise you, is no April fools joke.