Reciprocity

Offal Good

January 5, 2011 • 13 Comments

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According to the British father of food history, Alan Davidson, in The Oxford Companion to Food, "the term offal literally means 'off fall' or the pieces which fall from a carcass when it is butchered." But, what do you know, a quick restaurant trend and seemingly awful cuts leap to choice status -- with short ribs (the subject of this week's contest) leading the way. Thanks to offal's poster child (and Piglet judge!) Chris Cosentino, however, such is the fate of all offal. "Don't be fooled," warns Cosentino on his online hub for all things offal, Offal Good. "This isn't a candy coated website, and I am here to tell you that meat doesn't come in little color-coated Styrofoam containers at your local supermarket." Warning duly noted -- this website is not for the faint of stomach.

Chris Cosentino

Obsessed with these "lost cuts of meat," the Rhode Island native grew up in an Italian American family where Atlantic seafood was king. Now the Executive Chef of Incanto in San Francisco, it is Cosentino's business to churn out rustic Italian food in the Bay area culture where food is religion. If "meat is his muse," Offal Good is perhaps best understood as his homage to the whole animal. With each banner photograph more gruesome than the next, the website is a wonderful "educational and inspiration tool for those who are interested in learning and cooking with offal."

While the photo albums may shock you as much as an episode of Fear Factor, they actually serve as fantastic tutorials on how-to handle this stuff (take, for instance, the ones entitled "Goose Intestines" or "Giant 85-lb Pig's Head"). Cosentino, the central persona and producer of the site, appears in the flesh in much of the photo and video content, which is lucky for us, given the known realities of the life of a full-time restaurant cook. Nevertheless, he is featured in countless videos demonstrating happy little tasks like butchering a beef heart with same calm with which Secondo (Stanley Tucci) fries an omelet in olive oil at the end of Big Night.

There are recipes strewn throughout the site (like an especially heart-warming one for Italian sausage with cannelini beans) as well as extremely useful resources for nose-to-tail junkies in the way of restaurants, producers, and contacts. And the blog itself is full of enough interesting nuggets of information for even the most avid gut-lover to fill a terrine -- or, at least stuff a sausage or two. 

Offal Good: Do you have the guts to cook 2.0  Incanto Restaurant

 

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Comments (13)

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Cathybarrow_allrecipes_%c2%a9_2014

over 3 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

My friend, Kim (www.theyummymummy.blogspot...) and I are hosting a year of cooking from Michael Ruhlman's Charcuterie book. There will be monthly challenge recipes and, hopefully, a lot of camaraderie. Ruhlman has signed on and will chime in when he can. We're trying to scare up some prizes, too. Here's the link to the details, for all you offal supporters: www.charcutepalooza.com
Charcutepalooza. The Year of Meat.

Sodium_girl

over 3 years ago Sodium Girl

I love that Chris Consentino and feel so lucky to live right down the street from his offaly good restaurant in SF. Chris can make anything taste good and he was one of the first chefs to ever say "yes" to making a delicious, complex, and totally salt-free meal for me. Now if we can only come up with a way to cure meat sans salt...
Three hearty beef cheek cheers to Chef Consentino for his constant creativity and inventiveness.

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

OK, ladies and gentlemen. I have to admit that I am somewhat of an offal virgin. But I am hoping ot mend my ways and choke down the gagging reflex. I have five days in Lyon at the end of the month and I need to know what offal simply can't be missed.

Zester_003

over 3 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

Tripes would be good. They do those well in Lyon. I'm always amazed that people think they hate things they've never actually tasted.

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

I wouldn't classify it as a hatred, more of a fear of the unknown. Tripe is the one thing I have had, actually. And I was honored with the duck heart at a recent meal I had with several native Chinese cooks. Both tasted of the sauce they were cooked in, only the texture was new.

Cathybarrow_allrecipes_%c2%a9_2014

over 3 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

I'm all for offal. Like the others who have commented, I'm doing my best to honor the animal and Cosentino's blog has been inspirational.

Lnd_jen

over 3 years ago lastnightsdinner

One of many reasons we were so excited about the recent opening of the new artisan butcher shop here (Persimmon Provisions in nearby Barrington, RI), is that we once again have access to some less-appreciated parts, sourced from farms who are raising and slaughtering the animals in a humane way. Already we've brought home foie, trotters and sweetbreads,and we're looking forward to cooking with tongue and kidneys and more. Here's to Chris Cosentino and others who have encouraged us to honor the animal by using as much of it as we can.

Kay_at_lake

over 3 years ago Kayb

Y'know, there's parts, and there's parts. I've got no prob with the "less desirable" cuts of meat, love any kind of sausage, and will deal OK with some organ meats (though I can only deal with liver if it previously inhabited some sort of bird, and is prepared in a pate). But I've been in on too many hog-killings to deal with chittlins and souse meat. I do love a ham hock or an oxtail or a trotter, though, and cracklings rendered from lard in the big kettle over a fire outdoors are food of the gods.

Dsc03010

over 3 years ago betteirene

Best. Episode. Ever. of "No Reservations" was when Cosentino fed a very appreciative Tony Bourdain.The guy's got brains and balls, figuratively and literally.

Cathybarrow_allrecipes_%c2%a9_2014

over 3 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Without a doubt.

Zester_003

over 3 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

Pierino says, "mighty fine. Bring me your tripes, your lambs' tongues, your sweetbreads, your pigs' ears. And your hungry, poor and cheap too."

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over 3 years ago thirschfeld

Can't ever have enough parts

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over 3 years ago TasteFood

Incanto is fabulous. And you can order the whole pig. Shouldn't that be on the menu for the next piglet party?