Word of the Week: Charcuterie

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Photo credit: Megan Steffan

charcuterie [shahr-KOO-tuhr-ee; shar-koo-tuhr-EE] Taken from the term cruiser de chair, meaning “cooker of meat,” charcuterie has been considered a French culinary art at least since the 15th century. It refers to the products, particularly (but not limited to) pork specialties such as pâtés, rillettes, galantines, crépinettes, etc., which are made and sold in a delicatessen-style shop, also called a charcuterie.

The New Food Lover’s Companion, page 150

At the girl & the fig, we started making our own small-batch charcuterie about four years ago. We call it MANO FORMATE, meaning “hand formed.” We started with a select few and once we got the process down, realized we could make all the cured meats for our restaurants, including the thick cut bacon for our burgers and grilled cheese sandwich (upon request, but highly recommended!) and the crispy pancetta for our fig & arugula salad. And of course we make all the meats for our charcuterie platter; coppa, lonzo, pâté de campagne, pork rillette, mortadella, and various sausages.

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Salumi is a meat product that is air-dried, salted, cooked, and/or smoked. The tradition, with roots in France and Italy, dates back thousands of years and was used to preserve meat before the invention or refrigeration. We primarily use pork, but have tried our hand at beef and lamb as well.

Chef prepping to smoke pork for bacon.

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Mortadella in the making.

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Pâté de campagne with pickled garden vegetables for the Restaurant Week appetizer.

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Photo credit: Chef Jeremy Zimmerman

Each week we add something new to our culinary vocabulary by delving into a word from our menu. We love food, we love words, and we love to learn something new.

Cheers to the weekend!

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