Learning The Art Of Charcuterie
“Charcuterie is an old skill that is slowly being forgotten,” confesses chef Drew Nocente, executive chef of Salted & Hung. We’re sitting at the counter to preview the masterclass, which debuts on March 6 and takes place every first Saturday of the month.
Our lesson for the day is curing seafood and whole joints, which he learned while growing up in a farm in Brisbane, Australia. He shares that it’s not as daunting as it seems when you have the perfect cut of meat or fish, spices and seasonings, and a dash of luck—especially when ageing meat.
As we find out, the best way to ease your way into this art is through fish. Chef starts with the mackerel, freshly delivered that morning, which he slices in half and debones. He rubs both sides with a mixture of salt, sugar, green peppercorns, coriander seeds, orange zest and surprisingly—gin. “I use gin to intensify the flavour profile of the mackerel,” he says. It’s kept in the fridge for two hours and then it’s done. Easy, right?
It’s the same with the Hamachi, which uses the same rub but without the alcohol. Once you get the hang of it, chef says that you can experiment by adding more spices to suit your palate.
As we move on to the meats, chef beams with excitement. He quips, “I love meat.” And his ultimate favourite is the lardo, a big, white slab of back fat that he says is the best to cure in the world. It’s pretty simple, too.
All you need are salt, dextrose (which you can replace with sugar), Cure2 (nitrates and nitrites you can purchase online), pepper, thyme, bay leaves and rosemary. Chef generously rubs the fat with salt and spices first, before he places the herbs on top.
When curing, chef is adamant that you place it in a sealed container in the fridge. It shouldn’t have any contact with sunlight, otherwise yellow molds would grow on the skin; you wouldn’t want the lardo to go to waste, right?
After two weeks, you can rinse of the cure and leave in the fridge to age for another 30 days. The process and cure mix are the same with other cuts—whether you have the coppa or the bresaola—but the ageing period may differ.
The masterclass ends with a filling four-course lunch at Salted & Hung, where we get to try some of the cured meats as well as signature dishes such as aged steak.
The first charcuterie masterclass (curing whole joints and seafood) is on May 6, 11am. Call 6358 3130 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for enquiries and reservations.
Salted & Hung | 12 Purvis Street, S(188591)