by Lee Calvin0
Welcome to Charcuterie 101! A year ago, I had no idea what charcuterie was. Now I can even spell it! In our quest to constantly introduce new and exciting products, Omaha Steaks has recently launched the introduction of trendy charcuterie. I know – like I did – some of you may be asking, “What is it?”
Charcuterie is a French word for meats such as bacon, ham and sausages that are prepared in such a way that they are preserved. It’s a centuries-old technique that was used in ancient Greek and Roman times. The practice was spread far and wide by Romans as they pursued conquering much of the world as they knew it. The word translates into English as “pork butcher”, but other meats besides pork can also be involved. The practice has been described as: “The art of preparing various meats, in particular pork, in order to present them in the most diverse ways.”
Preparing gourmet salames is a respected craft, and over the centuries, many regional artisan-quality variations have appeared on the charcuterie scene. When you check into the Omaha Steak salame page, you’ll find four sampler packages that contain different combinations of six salames. Here’s a quick introduction for you:
Each of these salames is individually hand rolled in a blend of finely crushed herbs. And again, this salame is slow aged for the richest flavor imaginable.
This salame is a bright spot in any charcuterie arrangement because of its attention-grabbing red color. Paprika is the reason for its characteristic color. It’s dry cured with a proprietary blend of fresh garlic, paprika and other spices. Omaha Steaks Chorizo Casero is one of a kind. (This is one of my favorites.)
If you enjoy the zing of pepper and hints of wine, you’ll enjoy slices of this salame paired with a gourmet cheese and placed on your cracker of choice or artisan bread rounds. It’s a country-style salame, mildly spiced and laced with wine before it is hand rolled in freshly cracked peppercorns. (Hence the zing!)
Italian Dry Salame
Here’s another wine-lovers alert! With an enticing blend of spices, full-bodied wine and select cuts of pork, Omaha Steaks Italian Dry Salame accentuates a richness and aroma unique to this slow-cured specialty meat.
When you sample these salames, it is definitely not a case of taste one, you’ve tasted them all! If you love bold flavors, Sopressata is for you! It’s a robust blend of sweet fennel, hot peppers, paprika and red wine- another red variation that’s more coarsely ground than the Chorizo Casero. Omaha Steaks Sopressata is every bit as authentic as the hand-crafted varieties that were made centuries ago. The distinctive flavor is brought out by a two-month, natural aging process.
Apparent from the name, here is a regional artisan variation. The lean pork is combined with spices and wine to slow age for optimum flavor. (As you know, Omaha Steaks is a big believer in aging!) This is an authentic Italian recipe.
Charcuterie is traditionally served in attractive displays with special cheeses, gourmet olives, perhaps sun-dried tomatoes, a stone-ground mustard and fancy crackers or crisp-crusted bread rounds. If you’re not familiar with charcuterie, be adventurous – taste some soon!