For two weeks, our friends at the Good Food Awards will be sharing articles, tips, and recipes from some of their judges, friends, and past GFA winners. Each day will feature a different category, from chocolate to charcuterie to cheese. And if you'd like to score some of the goods competing in this year's awards, head to Provisions.
Today: Marissa Guggiana, co-founder of The Butcher's Guild and author of Primal Cuts: Cooking With America's Best Butchers, reminds us to treat our charcuterie with care -- in soups, sauces, and greens.
What we come to understand from making and cooking with great charcuterie is that there is no substitute for the patience and knowledge that the process requires. An animal’s life culminates in cuts -- centuries of skill articulated in technique, and months or even years of time invested to ensure a specific outcome. The best way to honor this is by treating each ounce with a respectful restraint.
I do this by using charcuterie as a flavor pill. Grind a bit of finnochiona into your tomato sauce, sauté the tiniest morsel of prosciutto in your collards, let the firm fat of pancetta melt into your roast beef. Save your salami ends and culatello cuttings for an elevated minestrone.
Curing meats allowed our agricultural ancestors to enjoy fat and protein through the cold months. Today, we can stretch a pot of beans or brothy pasta into lavish nourishment, enjoying even the leanest of times. Let the concentration of umami diffuse, let it stretch and supplicate, lusty thing that it is.
Rabbit Porchetta photo by Alex Farnum from In the Charcuterie; greens photo by Tom Hirschfeld; pancetta photos by James Ransom.