Cure All: five wild alternatives to everyday charcuterie
It wasn’t so long ago that artisanal, specialty butcher shops were a rariety and outlier restaurants like the Black Hoof were only beginning to prove how delicious weirdo proteins can be. Bolstered by our craving for dishes we can brag about on Twitter, daring chefs are running wild. Here, five exciting alternatives to garden-variety capicolla.
Société-Orignal, Quebec’s superlative special-ingredient purveyor, supplies the Black Hoof’s Jesse Grasso with seal shoulder and loin. Grasso then mixes in fennel seeds, black peppercorn and a bit of pork fat, and, after a two-month dry cure, is rewarded with salami that’s dense, peppery and a little funky. 928 Dundas St. W., 416-551-8854.
Gabriele Paganelli raises wild boar on a farm near Springwater. At his downtown trattoria, Paganelli’s, he serves a tangy cacciatore made from the meat of his hand-raised animals, spiced with pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic and sea salt from Italy. 106 Front St. E., 416-363-8370.
Deer is ultra-lean, so Carl Heinrich of Richmond Station mixes it with a bit of pork before stuffing it into a beef casing. It’s then cured and dried for two months. The result is a bright and bold salami, laced with red wine, garlic, mustard seed and black pepper flavours. 1 Richmond St. W., 647-748-1444.
This lean cold cut at Bar Isabel is a style of air-dried meat popular in the Italian Alps. Grant van Gameren gets his from La Cultura Salumi in Belleville. It has a slight barnyard aroma, but it tastes mild and has a creamy texture. 797 College St., 416-532-2222.
Buca’s Rob Gentile spices his moose sausage with garlic-infused red wine, black pepper and Quebec long peppercorn. The rich flavour calls up coffee, chocolate and Christmas pudding—winter comfort food at its best. 604 King St. W., 416-865-1600.