Thursday, May 13, 2010

Salumi from Salt and Time

I had the pleasure of getting some salumi samples from Ben of Salt and Time. We met at the Sunset Valley Farmer's Market on Saturday morning, and we chatted for a few minutes about his products. He uses locally sourced ingredients to produce his various meat products, which age at differing rates. He does use a tiny smidge of sodium nitrate in the salumis, both to ward off botchulism and to keep the meats from turning to an unappealing brown color as they age.

He's gradually breaking into the local markets; Odd Duck Farm to Trailer and the Hotel St. Cecila use some of his items in dishes/charcuterie plates, and he's starting to sell them at retail places like Antonelli's Cheese Shop (I still need to get north of the river and check them out....), Aviary and Apothecary Cafe and Wine Bar. Retail-wise, they run $25-30/pound, and I believe he said he's doing pre-sliced 4 ounce packages for places like Antonelli's. Thoughts of a farmer's market booth are also there. He's also making pickled vegetables, and is considering trying to get those into some of the area bars as good bar snacks. (Any suggestions on where he should try?) Keep an eye on his website for other events he'll be involved with; one coming up on May 28th. Last month, he did the Umlauf Sculpture Garden's annual fundraiser.

Here's a rundown on what I happily sampled, going clockwise from the 11:55 position (all pork products):

Lonzino -- Dry cured pork loin, this was sliced tissue paper thin! In the back notes, I could taste a subtle herbaceous flavor, and I emailed Ben, and he said he uses fennel and juniper in the cure. I knew I had tasted some herbs, but I couldn't pinpoint it!
Brianza -- This is a very mild sausage, with a slight twang to it; it had a very smooth texture, and larger pieces of marbled fat.
Tuscan with fennel -- One of my favorites! A nice sweetness about it, with whole fennel seeds; it's smoother grind than the brianza, but more marbled. Also some black pepper in it. Also cut very thin, you can see the slivers of the fennel when held up to the light.
Soppressata with chile -- A southern Italian speciality, as with the Tuscan there were little flecks of chile flakes to be seen. Great flavor, and while it does have chile in it, the chile doesn't overwhelm at all, and it wold be great on a cheese board. This is a little coarser and chewier than the Tuscan, with bigger pieces of fat. My other fave!
Genoa -- This was the largest in diameter, I'd say 2.5 inches around. Faint garlic flavor, nice swirled marbling, with a few larger pieces of fat. This one tasted more "porkish" to me, kind of like a strong Canadian bacon.
Chorizo -- A denser roll than the others, this had a nice piquant pop of hot smoked paprika. (Odd Duck used tiny slivers in a potato dish with a aioli.)

Really, all I can is they were great! Go and seek out these fine cured products! Eat them plain, make a charcuterie plate, or something of your own devices, but try them!

Thanks Ben!

May 14
After emailing Ben that I had posted on my blog, he sent me info about the May 28th event: