My buddy from the Gotham Burger Social Club and I came in here with the intention to split a burger and a pasta dish, but things escalated quickly into a pretty big lunch.
We started with an Aperol spritz, still desperately clinging to the last tendrils of summer.
We went with the gramigna pasta (short n’ curlies). This is made from the einkorn noble grain.
It was served with grumbled sweet Italian sausage, red pepper flakes and broccolini. I loved this! So much better than the popular broccoli rabe and orecchiette versions that you see a lot lately. Here’s a shot of it after a light parmesan cheese snowfall.
We also had a side of eggplant parmesan to go with it. I typically despise the skin on cooked eggplant, but this was a unique preparation in which the skin on the ends of the eggplant acted like cups or little bowls for the cheese and sauce. Delicious.
Here’s that beautiful burger:
It’s two patties made of short rib and brisket, then topped with fontina cheese, crispy pancetta, pickled pepperoncini and calabrian aioli. The bun is outstanding here. It eats like a soft, pillowy ciabatta roll. Perfect for an Italian style burger. It also comes with crispy smushed and fried rosemary potatoes.
I highly recommend this burger. It’s right up there with Ai Fiori and San Matteo as my top three favorite Italian style burgers.
Last up is the hanger steak.
This was a nice and simple preparation. Nothing too complicated. Great flavor, super tender. I only wish it had a better char on the crust and some more seasoning. 7/10.
Great spot. I will definitely be back for more pasta and that burger.
I’ve come across Superior Farms lamb products a few times at Foodservice shows and conventions. One time, I tried their lamb bacon, and I was completely blown away. I liked it better than pork bacon! I reached out to them recently, to see if they’d be okay with sending me some of their lamb bacon so that I could properly feature it in a post for you guys, to expose you to this delicious protein. I was very happy to hear back that they were interested! And I was blown away when I received this massive hunk of lamb belly in the mail one day:
Not only was I excited, but I was also scared, for with great pounds of bacon comes great responsibility. This thing weighed as much as my leg, so I had to make sure I gave it the proper respect it deserved. I figured that the best way to do this was to prepare it in several ways. I channeled my inner butcher, the part of me that still recalls my profession from a past life in the late 1800’s.
I made five different cuts: (1) thick chunks for stewing and braising; (2) thick slab strips for steakhouse style grilled bacon; (3) medium thickness slices for lettuce wraps, candying and baking flat; (4) thin slices for breakfast, sandwiches and burgers; and (5) diced into pancetta, or “lambcetta.” See below (thin slices not featured here):
I kept some cuts aside for immediate use. That night, my wife made a really amazing bucatini carbonara with some of the lamb pancetta. The mild game flavor of the lamb bacon was the perfect pairing for the earthy flavors of the aged cheese and egg yolk used in the carbonara. And the soft, creamy rendered fat from the lamb belly was pure gold. Here’s what the dish looked like:
The next dish my wife made was a lamb bacon, egg and cheese sandwich on a Trufflist-infused everything biscuit. She used the thinly sliced lamb bacon for this one. Awesome!
Next: Thick cut, steakhouse style bacon, made of lamb…
Oh yeah baby. That shit was delicious.
I actually prepared this two ways: one slow roasted on a hibachi, and one on a cast iron grill pan.
Both had their benefits. The roasted style was more evenly cooked, with nicely rendered and crisp fat. The grill pan left the meat more juicy with a harder crisp and softer, more gelatinous inside.
For the final preparation, we braised some with boiled eggs and molasses; a traditional clay pot vessel Vietnamese dish. Typically made with pork, we swapped it for lamb.
Needless to say, I’m really happy with this product. I hope to push it in MY BUTCHER SHOP someday, or at least keep buying it for home use.
A recent trip to Italy renewed my interest in, and appreciation for, all things “sliced meaty.” I thought I’d seize the opportunity, capitalize on my rekindled passion for this delicious shit, and dive a fuckload deeper into the various types of salumi with a detailed-as-balls educational post for you assholes.
Check it out you savages. This was an actual street name in Trastevere, Rome:
In case you’re a complete dunce, that means “Street of Salumi.” I like to call it Meat Street, if you will, which is where I’m about to take your ass right now.
So just what exactly is salumi? Generally, it’s any food product made from pig meat (usually), especially cured meats, such as salami. That’s not super explicit, and some salumi even involve beef, but essentially we’re talking Italian pork-based “cold cuts” here.
One thing we all love is prosciutto. Prosciutto is a TRUE salume (singular of salumi), meaning it’s a whole cut of animal, usually a leg or shoulder. A leg gets hung to cure, and later it is sliced and eaten.
Then there are items that involve ground meat, like salami and salsicce (sausage). Salami are smoked, air dried or salted, and then left to age. Salsicce is either raw or cooked slightly, and is a kind of salame (singular of salami).
Okay so salumi, salami: is that like potayto, potahto? Nope. Salumi is more of an umbrella term. All salami are salumi, but not all salumi are salami. Get it? Of course you don’t, because it’s fucking confusing. You had to go back and read that twice, didn’t you? I did. Maybe a Venn Diagram will help illustrate the point better:
Okay so let’s ignore the umbrella salumi term, since it’s kind of useless for our purposes here. I’m going to give you some info about the two major types of Italian meats: true salumi and salami.
As mentioned earlier, these are cured meats that have been made from a whole cut of animal, usually a leg/thigh or shoulder.
Prosciutto is a dry-cured leg o’ pig, and is probably the most common salume. These legs actually hang in Italian salumeria shops like decorations. It’s amazing.
Prosciutto crudo is the uncooked version, while prosciutto cotto is the cooked version.
For crudos, you’ll often see differences in the aging time based on the regions in Italy from which the ham hails. For example, Prosciutto di Parma is usually aged about 10-12 months, while San Daniele is 15-18 months. Some regions will age their hams longer, like 24 months, to impart different flavors, increase sweetness levels, etc.
As for prosciutto cotto, think of it like a traditional cooked ham.
Speck is a type of prosciutto that’s smoked (as well as dry-salted and aged), so it has a stronger, more unique flavor.
This salume is usually lightly seasoned with garlic, herbs, spices and wine, but the execution differs by region. The meat is then salted, stuffed into a natural casing, and hung for up to six months to cure. The meat itself is whole muscle from the neck and shoulder areas, so it is a salume despite being stuffed into a casing.
Fun side note: You may have seen capocollo spelled coppa, capicollo, capicola or capicolla. It’s even referred to as “gaba-gool” by NY/NJ area Italians and the show The Sopranos (or in this case, MadTV):
This is Italian pork belly (bacon). It’s usually cured and sometimes spiced. They slice it thin and eat it like cold cuts over in Italy. While technically not the same, you will often see pancetta swapped out with guanciale (pork cheek) or lardo (pure fat) in many Italian dishes that traditionally call for pancetta.
Bresaola is a cured, lean cut of beef, often times filet mignon.
You can see it here in my wife’s video from a salumi shop in Rome called La Prosciutteria, which I refer to as fucking heaven. There are a few selections of bresaola across the top right, immediately as the video begins:
While this may not necessarily be a salume, it is very often found in Salumeria shops throughout Italy. With that said, and the fact that this shit is delicious as fuck, I figured I’d mention it here.
Porchetta is a savory, fatty, and moist “pork roll.” It’s essentially a boneless pork roast whereby the pig is gutted, de-boned, arranged carefully with layers of stuffing, then rolled, wrapped in skin, and spit-roasted over a flame. Stuffing usually includes rosemary, fennel, garlic and other herbs, and porchetta is usually heavily salted.
It is typically served hot, cut thick, and eaten like a main course dish with a fork and knife. However it’s also common to see it sliced thinly after cooling. It’s then put into sandwiches or served on wooden meat board platters like the other salumi discussed above.
Okay, so a recap: Salami are ground meat, encased products that are smoked, air dried or salted, and then left to age.
If you’ve ever eaten an Italian hero, you’ve eaten some of these meats. Ingredients and parts can vary. In some cases you may even see non-pig versions, like venison or elk. In Venice, I even saw horse salami:
Salami varies greatly by region. In some areas of Italy, the meat is finely ground with tiny flecks of fat visible.
Other regions use a more coarse grind, use larger chunks of fat, or add spices and herbs.
My favorite varieties are the ones in which truffles are added.
The pepperoncino pepper is a mildly spicy variety of chili pepper. That pepper is what makes a salame “piccante” (spicy), as it is mixed up into the grind when making salami piccante. In the US, salami piccante is typically called “pepperoni.” However, in Italian, the word “pepperoni” actually means “bell peppers.”
Soppressata also varies by region and exists in different sizes and shapes, but the spice level and red coloring are both universal traits. It is almost always more coarsely ground than salami.
All that said, one can still find varieties of soppressata that aren’t quite as “hot.” While these pictures show a thinner chub, the most common forms I have seen were thicker, like three or four inches in diameter (like a giant’s penis).
This delicious shit generally comes from southern Italy. It’s an aged, spicy, spreadable salami “paste” that’s made from various parts of a pig. The spice levels are pretty hot in this product, and since it’s so soft, it is often spread onto bread like butter, or thrown into tomato-based sauces to kick them up a little bit.
This might be my favorite of the lot, and that’s a bonus for me, because it is usually the cheapest to buy in stores. The meat itself is similar to bologna in texture (in fact it IS bologna, since it hails from the town of Bologna). It’s extra finely ground (almost like it was processed by machine) heat-cured pork, which incorporates small cubes of pork lard.
I think mortadella is more smooth and soft than standard bologna here in the US, and it has a real porky flavor. Sometimes truffles, pistachios, olives and garlic are added for flavoring as well. Those are the best kinds. Also, lots of times these meats are formed into HUGE logs that are upwards of a foot in diameter.
Sausage party! The main difference here is mainly that, most times, salsicce is raw, uncured, or un-aged and needs to be cooked prior to eating. But some sausages are smoked and, thus, can be eaten as-is (like a hot dog or kielbasa).
So that about covers most of the common types of salumi you’ll see out there. I hope this information was helpful. If it wasn’t, then I should add that I don’t really give a fuck. Either way, go forth and eat this delicious meat. It will make you happy.
My wife and I strolled into this joint after reading about some of the stuff they had going on. We had already just eaten lunch, so we only dabbled into some snack items. However, it is worth writing up because they offer a lot of really awesome deals and humble items for such an overpriced and pretentious area of the city (Meatpacking). When we walked up at about 4pm, there was actually a bouncer from Brass Monkey preventing people in line from blocking the El Colmado door. That’s a bit early to be queueing up on a Saturday…
Check it out. We tried the “bone broth,” which technically should be called a stock since it is made from bones and not just meat. Since this item is becoming a big food trend lately, I really hope that people learn the lingo and stop calling it a “bone broth.” If bones are used, it’s a fuckin’ stock.
It was pretty tasty. A bit salty, perhaps over-reduced or too concentrated, but the flavors were reminiscent of pho because of some of the spices used, like clove or perhaps cinnamon.
Next we had a pair of smoked deviled eggs. I thought it was okay, but my wife wasn’t a fan of the texture and consistency. These were $2 a piece (pictured below are two pieces, one full egg – $4).
The coolest part of eating here was that our seats at the counter were placed in front of the glass case of butcher style offerings. Take a look at what we were sitting above:
The counter top has all sorts of savory candies in jars too, like jerky and olives:
I certainly need to get back down here when I have a bigger appetite.
This is more of a pictorial of a psychotically awesome meal I made for my wife as opposed to an actual recipe.
I started by prepping the cold dishes. The first course was simple: slice up some red onion, take some capers out of the jar, unpack age the smoked salmon, and arrange.
COURSE 1: smoked salmon with capers and onions
As you can see from the detailed image, I added some cracked black pepper and some olive oil.
I popped that bitch in the fridge until it was go-time.
Then I blanched some asparagus tips and rendered some diced pancetta in a cast iron pan with some coarsely chopped garlic cloves. This will all come together in the end: I promise.
The majority of the pancetta was sprinkled over the chilled asparagus tips, which were then topped with crispy shallots and drizzled with a combo of oils (garlic oil, peppercorn oil, chive oil, onion oil, and olive oil).
COURSE 2: blanched asparagus tips with crispy pancetta and crispy fried shallots.
I popped THAT bitch into the fridge too. Both dishes were served chilled.
I saved the bacon-fried garlic and a few spoonfuls of the pancetta for another dish that will come up later.
I chopped off the top of a bundle of garlic and roasted it in the oven at 450º for nearly 40 minutes.
This is for spreading onto the next two courses.
My next task was to sear off some Mosner grass-fed rib eyes in the same cast-iron pan where all that nice pancetta fat was still hanging out. I threw in some more garlic, and some Greek oregano (since the grocery store didn’t have rosemary).
COURSE 3: pork fat rib eyes with garlic and oregano.
As you can see, I started to overcook these.
There is almost no marbling in a grass-fed slab of meat, and the meat itself is tight-grained. The animals are lean, so intra-muscular fat is nearly nonexistent. Lesson learned. Next time I will cook for a much shorter amount of time on each side.
I opened a bottle of wine to let it breathe.
Right about now is when my wife got home from work, so I quickly set the table and put the cold items out. Then I sliced up some ciabatta bread and toasted it in the pan, which still had the steak drippings and garlicky bacon fat within:
What could this be for, you ask?
COURSE 4: truffle pate
I essentially just opened the package and added some olive oil and fresh cracked pepper. BUT… we spread that shit onto the pan-grilled bread, and then sprinkled some of the leftover pancetta and roasted garlic on top (which I had set aside above). Fucking delicious.
The meal was a hit, despite nearly overcooking the steaks. In any case, they turned out great, especially with the roasted garlic smeared onto each bite. Most satisfying, to me at least, was my planning and timing of everything. I think I nailed that more than anything in the food-execution realm (especially considering that three or four items were already half prepped for me – the pre-made truffle pate, the smoked salmon, the already-baked bread, and the pre-diced pancetta).