Prosciutto, salami, chorizo, saucisson sec: house-made charcuterie is popping up in restaurant kitchens throughout the country. These books will help you perform this culinary magic at home. While it has become a popular trend, the technique is centuries-old, originally used as a means to preserve food and utilize off-cuts of meat.
Although the word directly translates to “pork butcher” in French – the most popular animal used in the process – it’s become an umbrella term for cured and preserved products from all sorts of species. For anyone looking to try a hand at charcuterie here are the five best books.
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Fergus Henderson's ode to the joys of using the whole of the beast is hailed as a food-lovers classic It outlines the innovative albeit traditional cuisine of one of the world’s most highly respected restaurants, St. John in London. Owner Fergus Henderson is known for his work with offal and off-cuts of meat -- he's the man who started the pork belly craze. "The Whole Beast" contains many of Henderson’s signature recipes, such as roast bone marrow and parsley salad, pig’s trotter stuffed with potato, as well as a variety of cured meats. This book was innovative because it was traditional. At the time food culture was not interested in looking backwards. Now, of course, it is.
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This book is considered by many to be the bible of charcuterie. Written by venerated food writer Michael Ruhlman and charcuterie authority Brian Poclyn, it explores the differences and techniques of salt-, smoked-, and dry-cured foods as well as sausages, pates, terrines, and the confit technique. Recipes range from salt-cured salmon and beef jerky to knackwurst and duck confit. In the forward Thomas Keller, says, “This may well be the most exciting time ever to be a cook and a chef in America. And 'Charcuterie ' is a perfect example why.”
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Ciao! Another must-read from the Ruhlman/Poclyn team, "Salumi" digs into the Italian art of dry-curing meat. Where "Charcuterie" focuses on the French (Bonjour!) methods (with some other European techniques), this book is 100 percent Italian. It explores the differences in Italian salumi, types of hogs, cuts of meat, and more. Recipes range from coppa, guanciale, and mortadella to prepared recipes, such as spaghetti carbonara and grilled radicchio with pancetta and balsamic.
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Moving across the Mediterranean, "Charcuteria " delves into the history and mastery of Spanish butchering and meat-curing.Jeffrey Weiss's work is not just a cookbook, but a story of the culinary landscape of the country that is told through his first-hand experiences traveling and spending time with Spanish artisans and families, as well as the vivid photographs shot by Nathan Rawlinson. It is designed to read from beginning to end, starting with a breakdown of methodology and ingredients, moving to charcuterie procedures, and culminating with a wide selection of recipes.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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Designed for culinary students, professionals, and home cooks, this book covers a little bit of everything, from fish and seafood terrines to equipment and smoking. "Professional Charcuterie" is composed in an easy-to-read textbook format. All of the recipes were actually tested in the classrooms of Cincinnati State Technical College’s culinary arts program, where co-author John Kinsella, an American Culinary Federation-certified master chef, is the program coordinator. Solid.
Presenting homemade charcuterie is a sure way to impress friends.