Interview with Jeff Michaud

 

image5Handmade pasta is a great addition to any well-crafted menu, but there are a few differences to understand about hand-rolled pasta versus rolling it through a machine. At ChefConnect: Charlotte, Jeff Michaud will show you techniques to master pasta no matter what method you use to create it. Chef Michaud is the culinary director at Terrain Cafe and executive chef of Osteria in Philadelphia, which was nominated for Best New Restaurant in 2010 by the James Beard Foundation. In 2010, Jeff was the recipient of the James Beard Award for Best Mid-Atlantic Chef.

Chef Michaud gives a teaser on what he’ll be demonstrating at ChefConnect: Charlotte. Catch his demo on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at the Westin Charlotte.

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How to Cure Guanciale in Six Steps

Todd Kelly 5x7
Recipe and article by Todd Kelly, executive chef and director of food and beverage at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, Cincinnati
This article originally appeared in Sizzle Magazine, the American Culinary Federation’s digital quarterly for culinary students.

Guanciale is the Italian word for “cheek” and is a basic method of curing a whole muscle. Derived from the pig’s jowls, guanciale has a wonderful texture and aroma with just the right amounts of fat. I source very fresh, high-quality pig jowls, then season with a curing mixture to crust the jowls to cure for seven days. I then rinse the jowls, dry in a refrigerator overnight and let the meat hang for three weeks in a 58-degree curing room until it loses 30% of its original weight.

The process of curing meat dates back to ancient times, before the invention of refrigeration. The application of salt, sugar and seasonings preserve meat by drawing out moisture without cooking. Drawing moisture from the meat deters microbe growth that results in food spoilage.

Salt is the primary ingredient used to cure meat. The addition of sugar mellows the flavor of the salt and feeds the growth of Lactobacillus, the flavor-enhancing bacteria that turns the sugar into lactic acid. Instacure #2, also known as “Prague Powder #2,” is a mixture comprising salt, sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate that enhances the color of the meat and prevents botulism. Botulism is a potentially fatal food poisoning caused by a bacterium growing on improperly sterilized or preserved food.

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Curing meat is very rewarding and provides a substantial cost savings to buying cured meat from a vendor. In-house curing also provides you with opportunity to play with the flavor profile and consistency of the product you are curing. At The Orchids at Palm Terrace, we use guanciale for a number of pasta dishes and also use it as a seasoning for vegetables.

Ingredients:

2 4-pound pork jowls

2.5 t. Instacure #2

1 cup salt

3/4 cup sugar

2 T. garlic powder

1 T. onion powder

1 T. black pepper

1.5 T. dried thyme

2 t. ground spice berry

8 crushed bay leaves

Equipment:

Chef’s knife

Cutting board

Roasting rack

Cheesecloth

Butcher twine

Curing room

Disposable gloves

Procedure:

Step 1: Trim excess fat and skin from the pork jowl.

Raw jowl

Step 2: Apply the cure and shake off excess. Wrap in cheese cloth and place in refrigerator on a roasting rack for seven days.

Cure applied

Step 3: Remove the jowl from the cure.

Cure applied

Step 4: Rinse the cure from the jowl under cold, running water and refrigerate unwrapped overnight.

rinse

Step 5: Tie the jowl with butcher twine and store in a 58-degree curing room.

hang

Step 6: Monitor the jowl for weight. Once it has lost 30% of its weight, which takes about three weeks, the guanciale is finished.

Finished

At the Orchids Palm Court, we serve crisp guanciale with whipped ricotta, heirloom carrots, peas and herbs.

finished dish

Helpful hints:

Weigh the pork before curing to determine weight loss.

Wear disposable gloves to prevent contamination.

Finding a benign, white powdery mold on your meat is a good sign.

Finding colored, furry molds are a bad sign, remove by scraping and dabbing the area with a little vinegar and continue.

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Read more articles like this in the Summer issue of Sizzle Magazine.

 

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Grinder Pick
Pepperoncini, Hard Salami Slice, Wisconsin String Cheese and Pimento Stuffed Olive

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Mini Wisconsin Brie Cheese Wedge and Strawberry

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Properly Prepare Broccoli Raab

Broccoli raab is a trendy, tasty green that is taking menus by storm. Some of its many names are broccoli di rapa, broccoletti de rape, rape and rapini. The only similarity to broccoli, however, is the small buds on top. It is a member of the turnip family and has a rich green color and slightly bitter taste. The green leaves, buds and stems are edible. It is an integral part of Italian cuisine, and although its flavor is complex, it is intriguing and balanced.

Seasonality and Health Benefits

Broccoli raab is a cool-season crop. The ideal time to cultivate it is in fall or early spring, and it needs to be gathered before the florets open. It’s possible to have numerous cuttings from a plant, if it is harvested while the weather is cool.

Broccoli raab has vitamins A, B, C and K, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. This wonder-vegetable is also believed to have cancer-fighting properties and lower the risk of heart disease, as well as to detox and help heal.

When buying broccoli raab, look for moist stems and dark-green leaves. Younger broccoli raab has broccoli-like buds, which should be tightly closed and green. Do not buy if it is wilted, has yellowish leaves, open buds, or brown or curled stems. Store it in the refrigerator wrapped in wet paper towel and plastic wrap for up to five days. The vegetable can also be frozen if it is blanched, dried and then cooled before freezing.

Preparation tips

Cooking broccoli raab correctly is key. It must be blanched to remove some of the bitterness and the greens wilted to absorb oil and garlic flavor when sauteed. This is a great fall vegetable to use in pasta dishes, serve alongside fried potatoes or, when chopped, top a pizza.

Ingredients
1 head broccoli raab
3-4 T. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
Kosher salt, to taste

Equipment
Skillet
6 qt. pot
Cutting board
Chef’s knife
Sheet pan
Tongs


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Step 1
Trim thick stems about 2 inches from where leaves start.

 

IMG_6378

Step 2
Bring heavily salted water to a boil; blanch trimmed broccoli raab for approximately five minutes.

 

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Step 3
Remove from boiling water; shock in ice water to stop cooking. Place on sheet tray; blot dry.

 

IMG_6396Step 4
In heavy skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add chopped garlic; saute until tender (do not brown).


IMG_6401

Step 5
Add broccoli raab; saute until tender. It should remain bright green. Add salt, to taste.

 

IMG_6416Step 6
Serve on platter or chop to add to favorite meal.

 

Helpful hints
Broccoli raab is great to cook on a grill after blanching. Just drizzle with olive oil and slightly char.

This is a good vegetable to experiment with. Don’t be afraid to try different ways to incorporate this healthy vegetable into your cooking.

Article by: Cindy Komarinski, CCC, CCE, HAAC, Ph.D., professor/program director, Westmoreland County Community College Center for Culinary Arts and Hospitality, Youngwood, Pennsylvania.

This article was first published in Sizzle: American Culinary Federation’s Quarterly For Students of Cooking, winter 2015 issue.