Laura Holmes Haddad is a freelance wine and food writer based in Los Angeles. A graduate of Smith College and the California Culinary Academy, Laura is the co-author of several cookbooks and the author of Anything But Chardonnay: A Guide to the Other Grapes. Visit her at www.gourmetgrrl.com.
I’m crazy for cold cuts, and I blame my Italian mother for this. Show me a good piece of mortadella, and you’ll have me at “morta.” Thankfully a tradition of old-school salumi is coming back in the United States, with chefs around the country making salumi in small batches with artisanal ingredients. (Let me start this ode to meat by clearing up one common mistake: the word salumi refers to the entire category of Italian cured meats, while salami is a type of cured meat.)
So you can imagine my glee when I got a chance to attend a salumi making workshop at the girl & the fig restaurant in Sonoma, California. Chef John Toulze walked us through every step of making sausage and various salumi such as coppa. In our white chef coats and latex gloves, we looked like a team of meat inspectors as we learned the ins and outs of nitrates, nitrites, and preparing meat. Our hard morning of standing in a freezing production kitchen paid off when we got to sit down and enjoy a lunch of . . . salumi (what else?).
This coppa recipe, made with pork, is a must for foodies who want to try making their own at home. (It was awarded a top Charcuterie award at this year’s Good Food Awards in San Francisco.) You’ll need a kitchen scale for weighing the dry ingredients and butcher string to tie it, but aside from that all you need is a little patience and time. There is no rushing the salumi process!
1 pork shoulder
45 grams salt
25 grams sugar
5 grams white pepper
5 grams dried ground coriander
5 grams ground anise seed
3 grams cure #2
1 gram crushed juniper berries
Butcher the pork shoulder by pulling out the main muscle. Be sure to take care to pull out the entire muscle in one tight piece.
Combine all the dry ingredients and divide the mixture in half. Rub half of the mixture into the meat, and place it in a plastic bag. Refrigerate for 8 days. Remove from the bag and again rub each piece with the reserved salt mixture.
Place the pork in a perforated pan, and refrigerate it for 8 days.
Keeping the pork in the pan, scrape off the salt mixture. Take a damp towel and wipe clean. Return the coppa to the refrigerator for 1 day, uncovered.
Soak the beef bungs for 2 hours, changing the water every 20 minutes.
Rub the coppa with equal parts chili flakes, paprika, and glucose (you can replace chili flakes with fennel seed for sweet coppa).
Stuff the coppa into the beef bungs, and tie the ends with butcher string.
Hang the coppa for 3 weeks in a cool, dark place. You want the meat to lose at least 35 percent of its weight before eating it.
Note: For more information about the Mano Formate Artisan Cured Meat Workshops in Sonoma, California, call the girl & the fig at 707-933-3667, x16.