This is the last weekend before school starts up again (ironic that the blogging bug should wait until now to re-infect me, eh?), and I'm rather excited. I gave one of my chef instructors, Chef Clive, a call the other day and told him I got the charcuterie book for Christmas, and his immediate response was, "So what recipe do you want to try first?" I told him I needed to think about it, but I have, and the winner is... Soppresatta, an italian sausage similar to salami -- the word is derived from the Italian for "pressed".
Despite my obvious pride in the pancetta last term, our efforts were met with mixed success. My classmate's duck breast prosciutto also turned out well, but several other projects went bad. The main culprit, as always, was contamination, with high humidity being a big co-conspirator. The weather here is dry in summer, but it gets damp when it cools off. What we really need is a dedicated refrigerator with a dehumidifyer. Chef Clive says that he talked to the folks at Le Cordon Bleu in Portland, and their charcuterie club (!) uses a EuroCave, originally designed for wine storage. We can't afford anything like that for our program, but Chef Clive has a couple of ideas. We'll see how it goes.
I'll post more on this later in the term after I've had a crack at the soppressata.