Artisan Meat Share Mortadella
Ever since I saw Craig Deihl’s post on Facebook, showing his house made mortadella at Artisian Meat Share, I have been looking forward to trying it. I am inspired by Chef Ken Vedrinski’s (Tratoria Lucca) Ricotta Gnudi with Mortadella Polpetti (little meatballs). Tratoria Lucca is one of my favorite Charleston restaurants and the reason is Ken Vedrinkski. He is a hands on chef owner who absorbs himself in his cuisine in a way that most chefs simply do not hold a candle to. He sources many Italian delicacies on his frequent trips across the Atlantic, finding the most special olive oils, wines and cheeses to bring back to Charleston. He also has special relationships with fishermen, ranchers and farmers who bring their goods to the back door of his restaurant.
Gnudi are gnocchi-like dumplings made with ricotta cheese instead of potato, with very little or no flour. The result is often a lighter, “pillowy” dish, unlike the often denser, more chewy gnocchi.
There are three elements to this meal, they come together in a perfect symphony of flavor and texture.
Tomato Sugo Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 generous pinch crushed red pepper
- 8 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and crushed
- 10-12 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 cup of butter
- Salt to taste
- Place olive oil in a pot over medium heat.
- Add garlic and chili flakes
- Saute 2-3 minutes
- Add tomatoes and butter, blend well and add salt to taste
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 30 minutes. Remove from heat.
Mortadella Polpetti Ingredients:
- 4 slices of day-old ciabatta, crust removed
- 2 cups milk
- 5 ounces ground pork
- 5 ounces ground mortadella (if you cannot find it, then use good quality bologna and finely chopped pistachios along with some black pepper)
- 1/4 cup porcini powder
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup ground Parmesan
- 3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
- Soak cubes in milk for 5 minutes,then squeeze dry.
- In a large bowl add remaining ingredients until well combined. Cover bowl, then refrigerate 1 hour.
- Form Polpeti into 1 inch balls.
- 45 minutes before serving time, add the polpetti to the sauce and put on a simmer burner at very low temp.
- 16 ounces good quality fresh ricotta
- 5 ounces microplaned Locatelli Pecorino Cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2/3 cup 00 flour (available at Italian specialty stores or online), plus more for dusting.
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl till a dough forms. Be gentle when mixing. cover bowl and chill for 1 hour
- Dust the bottom of a sheet pan with flour.
- Place dough on a floured work surface and roll into a 1 1/4 inch diameter log. cut on the bias into one inch pieces.Place on the floured surface
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil
- Shake extra flour from gnudi. gently place in the pot cooked till cooked through. Put in a bowl and toss with the sauce.
- Serve with freshly grated parm.
These are one of my favorite fall/winter breakfast dishes…. each bite bursts with flavor and they are full of antioxidants too. As soon as my pomegranates are ripe I start making things from them and this is just one of many things I like to do with them. I sometimes make them with sourdough starter, but you can also use buttermilk and flour as I give instructions for here. I use good Vermont Maple Syrup on the side. You can change out the fruit, but I really think this is an amazing combination. Bacon on the side is a perfect compliment. Bring on the Mimosas!
- 2 cups self rising flour (White Lily preferred)
- 2/3 to 1 cup of buttermilk
- pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons of melted butter
- 1 cup of blueberries
- 1 cup of pomegranate
- Using a stand mixer blend together all but the fruit. You want a fairly thin consistency, but not as thin as crepe batter. Add more buttermilk or flour as needed. Make a plain test pancake first, it should be about 1/3 of an inch thick.
- Preheat a griddle and wipe a used butter wrapper on the griddle
- Test heat by dropping a drop of water on it, it should immediately bounce.
- Pour two pancakes at a time unless you have a double size griddle.
- As soon as you have poured them on to the griddle, generously drop berries and pomegranate all over the top of the pancakes.
- When the pancakes start to have air bubbles, it is time to flip.
- Continue cooking till the bottom of the pancake is golden. You can lift the edge to check. This should take 1-2 minutes.
There is nothing like a Banh Mi Sandwich! There are so many flavors and textures going on between the baguette. There are many ways to make this sandwich, in fact, my friend Andrea Nguyen has written an entire book on the subject!
For each sandwich:
- 1 petite baguette roll or part of a longer baguette
- Mayonnaise (I use Duke’s)
- Maggi Sauce (available at Hispanic and Asian groceries)
- Char Su (this is Asian style pork belly) or BBQ chicken, pate’ or slices of rare steak
- 3 or 4 thin seeded cucumber strips, pickling or English variety preferred
- 2 or 3 cilantro sprigs, roughly chopped
- 3 or 4 thin jalapeño pepper slices
- Bean sprouts
- Daikon and Carrot Pickle (Do Chua)
- Slit the bread lengthwise, and then use a fork to pull out some of the bread, making a trough in both halves. Place the bread halves under the broiler on LOW, but watch carefully!
- Generously spread the inside with mayonnaise. Drizzle in some Maggi Seasoning sauce or soy sauce. layer the remaining ingredients. I like to start and end with some herbs.
Daikon and Carrot Pickle (Do Cha)
Makes about 3 cups
- 1 large carrot, peeled
- 1 pound daikons, peeled
- teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons and 1/2 cup sugar in the raw or grated jaggery
- 1 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup lukewarm water
Either cut the carrot and daikon into julienne or use a spiral cutter to cut them. Place the carrot and daikons in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt and 2 teaspoons of the sugar. Use your hands to knead the vegetables for about 3 minutes, expelling the water from them. They will soften and liquid will pool at the bottom of the bowl.
Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water, then press gently. Return the carrot and daikon to the bowl.
To make the brine, in a bowl, combine the 1/2 cup sugar, the vinegar, and the water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the carrot and daikon. The brine should cover the vegetables. Let the vegetables marinate in the brine for at least 1 hour before eating. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. It is not traditional, but I like to add some dried red chile flakes too.
As Fall starts bringing us cooler weather, I start thinking of these hearty dishes from my youth (a very long time ago). My mother made Beef Stroganoff with Cream of Mushroom soup, dried reconstituted onions and anything else processed she could get her hands on. It was the age of processed foods, I really don’t blame her. My great grandmother (who was my true inspiration for cooking and gardening) on the other hand was a “scratch cook,” nothing processed and everything full fat and delicious. She was raised on an Indiana farm and spent her first 60 years there. Then they sold the farm and moved to Glendora, California where I spent almost every weekend with her till I was 14. I never saw her use a recipe and Beef Stroganoff was probably her most exotic meal. I added a few of my personal touches to this, she never used smoked paprika and I don’t think she ever used buffalo or sherry. She made her noodles from scratch and we would roll them out with the same old rolling pin I use today. This is an easy recipe and you can take out some of the fat by using milk where I used cream and if you really want to you can use low fat sour cream or yogurt…. but I suggest that you try it this way first. It is a “splurge meal.”
- About 1 pound of beef, you can use sliced sirloin, ground beef or ground buffalo like I did.
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 # of crimini mushrooms (baby bella) sliced. Wild mushrooms would be great in this!
- 3 shallots or 1 sweet onion diced
- 1/4 cup glace (reduced beef stock (you can make this or buy it. Make it by reducing down 4 cups of beef stock to 1/4 cup)
- 5 cloves of garlic finely minced
- 1 Tablespoon Smoked Sweet Paprika
- 1 stick of butter
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 2 cups cream or milk (I used cream)
- 1/4 cup sherry
- 1/2 of a nutmeg grated (about a teaspoon)
- 1 cup sour cream
- Egg noodles cooked and buttered with 2 tablespoons of butter and 3 TBS fresh minced parsley
- In a large saute pan or wok add beef and olive oil and start to brown
- When the meat starts to brown add the onions & mushrooms till slightly golden
- Clear a hot spot in the pan and add garlic, stir in
- Add the glace and paprika then put on a very low simmer.
Make the cream sauce:
- In a 4 qt sauce pan, melt the butter and then stir in the flour with a whisk
- Add the cream/milk and heat as it thickens
- Add the Sherry & Nutmeg and stir again.
We are ready for STROGANOFF! Pour the cream sauce into the pan with the beef and mushrooms. Heat till almost bubbling, then add the sour cream and stir till the sauce is all one color. Remove from heat. Serve over the noodles with chopped fresh herbs. Parsley, chervil or thyme all go well with this. I served it with roasted Brussels sprouts and Vidalia onions. This serves 4 we had leftovers for two nights.
This is one of the most delicious recipes and the meat can be used in so many ways after the original meal. You can make pulled pork and porcini gravy over grits/polenta, pulled pork sandwiches with BBQ sauce, tacos, as a topping for fresh pasta, empanadas, tostados and tamales among other things. The spices in the porchetta filling are distinctly Latin and permeate the meat along with the smoke. Keep in mind that “Latin” includes Italy as well as Latin America. If you do not have a smoker, you can get the flavor by Braising the butt with liquid smoke and beer in a slow cooker or oven before you add the bourbon and do the second braise.
I have not posted in several weeks. I had a knee injury that kept me from doing a lot of cooking. It is getting better or at least the cortisone injection is making it feel that way. It is good to be able to stand for more than a few minutes again. Meanwhile the Low Country is in it’s early summer glory after we suffered through an unusual plant killing winter. It is so great to see green and blooms again.
Smoked Butt Porchetta Style
- A large, well marbled pork butt (shoulder) with the fat on one side. Bone in is fine.
- 1 large bunch of flat leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup cumin seeds
- 1/2 cup fennel seeds
- 1/2 cup corriander seeds
- 12 cloves of garlic
- Olive oil
- 1 Cup of Bourbon for braising
- Put the seeds in a dry non stick pan and toast till you start to hear them pop. Remove and allow to cool
- In a food processor place the parsley, garlic, cooled seeds and a drizzle of olive oil. Pulse till a thick paste is developed. You may need to add more oil to make a paste.
- Place one inch deep and wide slits all around the meat about 1″ apart.
- Fill each slit with the paste. If there is any paste left, rub it all over the meat.
- Place the butt fat side up in the smoker on lowest temperature. I used apple wood this time, but I often use maple or cherry.
- Smoke for 8 hours do not let the heat get higher than 250.
- Remove to a dutch oven or slow cooker pour the bourbon over the meat and cover. Bake on lowest temperature the oven will go to for another 8 hours or if using a crock pot, leave the lid slightly ajar. Cook on low for 10 hours.
I made a gravy using porcini mushrooms the drippings from the meat (removed fat by chilling) and some cornstarch. For the first meal I served it with polenta/grits and it was delicious. Then on the next day we had pulled pork sandwiches and a few days later, we are having pulled pork tacos!
Bucatini is one of my favorite pastas. It is a long noodle (#6) and it is hollow. This makes a chewy and delicious pasta dish. The first method is with bread crumbs, garlic, olive oil and herbs, topped with cheese and bread crumbs. The second has a sauce of butter roasted tomatoes with anchovies and garlic. Both are super fast and easy. Both have two layers of garlic flavor, utilizing fresh garlic and Vik’s Garlic Fix, one of my favorite products.
Bucatini with Bread Crumbs and Garlic, serves 4
1 cup fresh bread (Italian or sourdough is best for this) crumbs toasted in a pan with 2 TBS butter
10 cloves garlic, chopped
2 TBS Vik’s Garlic Fix
1 TBS fresh cracked pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bunch of fresh parsley or 1/4 cup dried parsley
crushed red pepper flakes to taste
1/4 cup parmigiana, grated
1/2 package bucatini pasta, cooked al dente
The sauce is made as the pasta cooks. While your pasta is boiling place the olive oil, Vik’s and the red pepper in a frying pan and sear till the garlic is soft and lightly browned.
When the pasta is done strain and toss with the sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then add the cheese and top with bread crumbs and parsley! It is delicious!
Next method: Butter Roasted Tomato Sauce, serves 4
8 cloves of garlic
1 TBS Vik’s Garlic Fix
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 28 ounce can of chopped tomatoes (and juice)
6 small anchovies in olive oil
1/4 cup Sweet Onion Sugar
2 Tbs Italian Herb Blend
6 Tablespoons of butter cut into small pieces
Salt and Black pepper
1/2 package Bucatini Pasta, cooked al dente
Fresh Italian Parsley or Basil for garnish.
In an oven proof pan with deep sides, place all ingredients. Roast at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. After removing from the oven, smash the garlic, tomatoes and anchovies with a fork to achieve a thick chunky sauce. Toss half of the sauce with the bucatini and a ladle of pasta water. Then dish up and put remaining sauce on the pasta. Garnish with the fresh herbs.
This is such a nutritious and delicious thing to have on hand. It can be served with grilled pita bread, rustic breads, slices of radishes, carrots or cucumbers or eaten as a salad on its own. There are a lot of recipes out there, this one is based on a Palestinian version, basically a parsley salad. Chop and stir! This keeps for about a week in the refrigerator. I used fresh and dried parsley to get different levels of flavor.
- 1/2 cup fine bulgur wheat, soaked for 2-4 hours in boiling water, then strained
- 1 pound of grape tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 large shallot finely chopped
- 4 Tbs fresh lemon juice
- 2 large bunches fresh flat leaf parsley finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dried parsley
- 2 large bunches mint (not peppermint) finely chopped
- 2 Tbs Baharat seasoning (see below)
- 1 Tbsp Sumac (more if you prefer)
- 1/2 cup good olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper (I use a four peppercorn blend)
- Sea salt to taste
Baharat Spice Mix
To make spice mix: Toast all but the nutmeg in a dry pan, being careful not to burn. Use a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to grind to a fine powder). Add the nutmeg and stir. Keeps for 8-10 weeks
To make Tabbouleh:
Add all ingredients in a large bowl and stir. Taste before adding salt and pepper. Serve with additional lemon quarters.