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Capicola or Prosciutto Project on Deck

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 11 October 2012 at 13:14
One of the really, truly great things about this forum is that, every now and then, a member will post something, which leads to something else, which leads to an inspiration and a gateway into a whole, new world. Such is the case with Margi's Sandwich thread:
 
 
Which led to Dan's Muffuletta thread:
 
 
When I saw that one, I was hooked.
 
Doing some light research, it looks like capicola or proscuitto are the traditional "hams" to use as one of the components of the sandwich. Sure, you could use regular ham, and it would be just fine, delicious, even - but this is Foods of the World, and there's no reason not to try to push the envelope a little, and use the "real thing," right?
 
With that easy decision, I have a choice presented to me: buy my ham, (either capicola or proscuitto), or make it. Well, once again, either choice is valid, but since winter is a good time for charcutiere projects, why not give it a shot? Heck, even if it doesn't turn out well, I can still get my hands on some proscuitto, which can be found in Great Falls, 135 miles away.
 
So, here we go.
 
Depending on the cut of meat I can find, I'm going to begin one of these projects soon, so that it will be done in time to use it for making muffuletta sandwiches for the Superbowl. Since the shoulder seems to be the most readily-available cut, it will most likely something from there, which means it will be capicola rather than proscuitto - but from what I can tell, the two processes are basically the same: cure in salt with white wine, then dust with cracked black pepper (sweet) or cayenne pepper (hot) and then age/smoke/partially dry.

Capicola and prosciutto are things that are not commonly found around here, so I'm flying pretty blind, as far as a flavour profile is concerned; however, with a hunk of pork shoulder or leg, and a reliable, traditional recipe, I should be able to do this with little trouble. The basic charcuterie concepts should be easy enough, I've made Romanian pastramă:
 
http://foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/project-pastram_topic917.html
 
"Chipped" or "dried" "beef" (out of venison):
 
http://foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/dried-beef-aka-chipped-beef-from-venison_topic1603.html
 
Canadian bacon:
 
http://foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/my-first-attempt-at-canadian-bacon_topic2371.html
 
And buckboard bacon:
 
http://foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/first-attempt-at-buckboard-bacon_topic2376.html
 
None of these were entirely perfect, since they were all first attempts, but I learned quite a bit during all projects, and can apply that to this project.

Traditionally, it looks like straight salt is used as a curing agent, followed by several weeks of air curing/aging. Most likely, I'll use TenderQuick in the form of a dry brine for the cure (which incorporates safe, reliable, time-honoured curing agents with salt); due to the climate I live in, where the thing will freeze solid outside or completely moulder inside, I'll probably be able to "hang and age" only a few days rather than a few weeks - no worries, I won't get the full effect, but I will get some of it.
 
So that part's not too difficult at all - my problem is finding a good, basic and traditional flavour profile. I'm not too interested in anything that is drastically modified, "improved" or "yuppified" from what would be considered "traditional," so it's apt to be pretty basic, which is just fine with me. But I really don't know what "traditional" is - is it simply the salt/wine cure, then dusted with cracked black pepper? or are any other herbs, spices or seasonings traditionally added, such as garlic, coriander, etc.?
 
Who knows? I don't....
 
Any ideas?
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Margi Cintrano View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 October 2012 at 13:40
Tas,
Wow ...
I am pleased that my Sandwich thread has fuelled ur artisanial motor.
 
Prosciutto di Parma Homemade: www.ehow.com
 
 
Prosciutto di Parma Homemade.
 
 
As u know we have a move Sunday and are a bit busy however, I have an Italian Chacuterie Book and shall put in shoulder bag and see if I can provide a tip or two on the process they use in Emilia Romagna in the small city of Parma, Italia.
 
Also look at:
 
1)  www.barilla.com recipes in English and their web.
 
2) www.makemania.com ( has a very simple recipe for making Capicola: firstly in brine and then, aged 9 to 11 weeks. )
 
3) www.ehow.com ( how to make salami and prosciutto di parma )  
 
Air dried Salami.
 
 
I shall see what other useful assistance I can suggest.
Have lovely Columbus Day,
Margi.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 October 2012 at 09:25
thanks, margi!
 
looking through some of the recipes and "how-tos" out there, it seems people are making these hams from pork loin, but i think they are doing this in the search for a "lean" alternative. the problem is a lot of the flavour profile must get lost by using that alternative. because of this, i'll use shoulder, which looks like it will make a good, more-traditional capicola. it will be "fattier," but the flavours and spirit of the ham should come through better.
 
the more i read, the more i'm beginning to think this might be really easy and basic, if i want to keep it traditional -and therefore GOOD ~ Tongue it seems that all the methods are pretty similar. most cure in salt and white wine. some folks have mentioned red wine, so i don't know which is "correct." then a good dusting of cracked black pepper (or cayenne, for "hot," but this is not an option for me, considering the beautiful mrs. tas's sensitivity to hot, spicy stuff) and it is aged and i THINK it is also smoked, in most cases. it's beginning to look very similar to swiss bundenfleisch and romanian pastrama, with slight differences in the flavours used.
 
the idea in my head is gelling somewhat - the main instinct is to keep it very simple and let the few ingredients (along with the pork) be the stars. sometimes, as things get "popular" or "trendy," the original idea is diluted down and the flavour profile that made it great can be contaminated with a munch of add-ons....so here are a few questions for those who are more familiar with traditional capicola:
 
as for the capicola you have had, is red or white wine specified? or perhaps either one, depending on region? red more than white, or vise-versa? or no wine at all?
 
also, have they been smoked? some? most? all? 
 
are there any flavours othert han salt, pepper and wine? maybe garlic or coriander?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 October 2012 at 09:45
 
Capicola, colloquially called
Cappoccolo or Coppa.
 
 
 
Firstly, after skimming google, I had found DVD Series by Chef John Scarpati, by placing the search as follows:
 
making capicola at home
 
I believe this would be quite useful.
 
Secondly, you had enquired about other ingredients in addition to salt / brine and white wine:
 
I would think that olives and capers might be possible, however, since I have never made my own charcuterie, and you have, a ton more knowledge in this sector of the gastronomic world than I do. Perhaps Italian herbs for example: orégano, basil, thyme & parsley. Minced Sundried tomatoes ?
 
www.makemania.com specifically states: do not use re - frozen meat.
 
I hope this assists you.
 
As soon as we walk over to the new apartment, I shall look in the Calabria Section, the toe of Italia where this cold cut meat is produced.
 
 
 
Kindest,
Margi.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 October 2012 at 10:05
I believe that these 3 websites shall provide you with enough information, plus the other 3 websites that I posted earlier and the Chef ´s DVD PLUS your own knowledge and experience making your own cold cuts.
 
 
 
 
PLEASE NOTE: In Calabria, they are known for their peppers of all types. Thus, in keeping with the historical and traditional, Calabria is the toe of Italia, in the southwest and they employ PEPERONCINO a spiked Capicola.
 
Pork shoulder is used by Dave and Menu in Progress. ( see photos ).
 
I look forward to Super Bowl to hear all about it !
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 October 2012 at 11:30
Tas,
 
Another worthwhile website on preparing pancetta, capicola, salami and prosciutto di parma, amongst numerous other cold cut Italian meats.
 
This gent uses the shoulder for his Capicola. www.scordo.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 October 2012 at 11:38
very nice resources, margi - thanks! Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 October 2012 at 11:49
Tas,
De nada ... You are welcome. I hope that all this has assisted you. I have also wanted to mention two more things;
 
1) SMOKED PAPRIKA: if you notice the red paprika color of the capicola in netting ( see photo ), it has been spiced with smoked paprika sweet variety. Calabria, the toe of Italy´s main product is peppers, ranging from mild, to chili variety piquant ...
 
2) ITALIAN WHITE WINE GRAPE VARIETIES: California, Washington State and Oregon produce Italian grape variety wines for example; Pinot Grigio. Calabria is the only Province in Italia, which produces very minimal wine, and does not export. Thus, they too import Sicilian wines and Whites from the northern regions.
 
I am truly looking forward to " your " capicola, hams, pancetta and salami projects. It shall be a very informative and fascinating culinary lesson for all of us.
 
Kind regards.
Margi.
 
 
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Photo Courtesies: Listed on above Posts, and www.scordo.com
 
Tas.
 
Certainly cannot wait to hear the next episode,
 
Kindest. Margi.
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   Wow, this is going to be a great thread to follow!  Thanks Tas and Margi!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 October 2012 at 10:19
Tas and Dan,
 
The books shall be organized by country tomorrow, and as I had previously mentioned I have a book in Italian on Charcuterie, and shall see what other research suggestions I can assist with. It is more of an encyclopedia than a recipe book, though there are regional recipes in each province and wineries, and butcher wholesalers and lots of fine information.
 
This book is available in English from www.amazon.com
 
I shall send the details tomorrow.
 
Hasta luego Gents,
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 November 2012 at 13:36
well - getting the pork is going to be a challenge for me in the near future, so it might take a little longer to get this started than i originally thought. no worries - i'll be doing it one way or the other.
 
in the meantime, i have a couple of whole venison sirloins (see the bottom-left corner of this photo):
 
 
each are just a tad under 2 pounds, and just begging to be cured and turned into some sort of charcuterie treasure.
 
i do believe that i will try to turn one of them into a venison bresaola.  :)
 
the other one? i'm not sure yet, but i am leaning toward another pastramă from romania:
 
 
or perhaps a related product called pastourma, from greece:
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 November 2012 at 14:20
Tas. Venison Bresaola could be quite lovely and or venison ham. Your venison is relatively very low on fat so considering a lean charcuterie is imperative. Venison sausage would be lovely too if you are veered toward Italian or Spanish charcuterie. I have also had venison alone in content and a veal Cecina which is DO Leon. Castilla Leon and is delicious. Keep us updated. Mar.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 November 2012 at 14:25
hi, margi -
 
yep, i definitely have some ideas for some sausage, but that would be a whole other ball game, since it uses ground meat rather than the whole cuts that i am thinking of with this.
 
i've got some ground venison from last year (and also got some from this year too, so far), and i'll be using it for a couple of projects that i've been meaning to try. i'll post on those when i get closer to doing them. Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 November 2012 at 14:37
Tas. What about Cecina which is an exclusive Spanish Venison or Veal charcuterie variety ... mar.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 November 2012 at 14:48
good suggestion!
 
i did some looking - and that might be a way to go, but if i read correctly, the process is 7 months! Shocked i think i'd like to give it a try, though, using a larger piece of beef (although according to tradition, it looks like it could be made with anything, even a horse or a donkey!). for venison, it might not take nearly as long, though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 November 2012 at 15:12
Tas. Bresaola is very lean and this might work out quite well. Cecina is normally made with veal today. I avoid horse or donkey and donkies are now protected by law to my knowledge as they are endangered. Your venison looks exemplary thus my advice is to research venison charcuterie ehow.com and see. I believe it is the process spices etcetra more than the meat variety. I see Moroccans now using lamb or chicken or beef sausages bacon and ham without pork. Best. Margi.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 November 2012 at 10:32

Since bresaola would be a whole other project, I'm posting a new link here:

http://foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/bresaola-project_topic2825.html
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