Tag: pork


Secreto for Lunch

Secreto is a term used for a butcher’s secret cut. Crafted by master artisan Thomas Odermatt, our Secreto, cut from the short loin, brings 200 years of butchering tradition to your table.

When you’re on the run and need some quick ideas for lunch, our Secreto can come in handy.  Use some slices in a sandwich, beef up a healthy salad, or use it as your main ingredient in a pasta.  Here is a quick and delicious tomato based pasta recipe:

Ingredients
1 box Baia pasta, Casarecce
2 14.5oz. can of whole tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup water
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, grated on a microplane
2 basil springs
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper

Procedure
1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or heavy-bottomed pot. Bloom the grated garlic and tomato paste in the olive oil. When the tomato paste turns into a dark brick red, add the canned tomatoes, breaking them up as they cook. Once all of the tomatoes are crushed to the desired amount, add 1 cup of water and continue to cook. Add the bay leaf, basil sprigs, salt and pepper and allow the tomato sauce to simmer.
2. As the sauce is simmering, fill a 6 quart pot halfway up with hot water and bring it to a boil. When the water is at a rolling boil, add two handfuls of kosher salt and allow it to dissolve. Add 1 box of dry pasta to the boiling water and cook for about twelve minutes (or longer, depending on the desired doneness), stirring occasionally to avoid sticking.
3. For the Secreto: Bring the Secreto to room temperature before you begin. Drizzle cooking oil into a hot pan. Once the pan is smoking hot, sear the fattier side of the Secreto for about four minutes. Carefully flip the Secreto and sear it on the other side for another four minutes. Remove it from the pan and allow it to rest for about five minutes. Although the USDA recommends pork be cooked to an internal temperature of 145ºF, our chefs suggest cooking until a thermometer reads 135ºF as the temp will continue to rise while resting. Slice thin.
4. Strain the pasta when it is cooked to the desired doneness, reserving two cups of the starchy pasta water. Add the strained pasta and Secreto to the tomato sauce, adding pasta water as needed to loosen up the final product.

Secreto in Your Favorite Party Snacks

Secreto is a term used for a butcher’s secret cut. Crafted exclusively for Heritage Foods by master artisan Thomas Odermatt, our Secreto is cut from the short loin and brings 200 years of butchering tradition to your table.

Use the Secreto in your favorite party snacks to impress your guests. When cooked medium rare and sliced thin, the Secreto is the perfect way to top off your spread of finger foods.  Add some to a cheesy nacho platter, throw some on a plain pizza, put them in fun yet elegant lettuce wraps, or use the thin slices of Secreto to top off a bruschetta platter. One pack will go a long way!

Here is a simple recipe to make a quick plate of Bruschetta:

Ingredients
2 baguettes or sourdough bread
2 tomato, diced
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Basil
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Procedure
1. Slice baguettes on a slight bias. Dust the slices of bread with olive oil and lightly toast.
2. In a bowl, mix the diced tomatoes, minced shallots, and garlic with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let the mix marinate in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
3. For the Secreto: Bring the Secreto to room temperature before you begin. Drizzle cooking oil into a hot pan. Once the pan is smoking hot, sear the fattier side of the Secreto for about four minutes. Carefully flip the Secreto and sear it on the other side for another four minutes. Remove it from the pan and allow it to rest for about five minutes. Although the USDA recommends pork be cooked to an internal temperature of 145ºF, our chefs suggest cooking until a thermometer reads 135ºF as the temp will continue to rise while resting. Slice thin.
4. Construct your bruschetta appetizer plate – starting with the tomato mix, top each bite off with a slice of Secreto and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Heritage Magical Meat Tour Heads South: In Search of the Great Country Hams Part 3

Newsom’s Old Mill Store was opened in 1917, and although it burned down and was rebuilt next door to the original locale, it doesn’t feel like much has changed. The poplar floor creeks like an ancient symphony, even the door whistles like a bluegrass concerto when it swings shut. Outside on the sidewalk, there are a dozen varieties of tomato plants for sale, and pretty much everything you might want for your garden. Inside, are every manner of beans and corn, and jars of country condiments, from Hot Chow Chow to Appalachian Piccallili. In the back corner, past the buckets of penny candy, is where they slice the ham….

Heritage Magical Meat Tour Heads South: In Search of the Great Country Hams Part 2

Heritage Magical Meat Tour Heads South: In Search of the Great Country Hams Part 2

wasn’t going to be easy to make a living curing hams…. so I wrote to everyone I could think of, anyone who could help, university professors, cooks, I wanted to hear everyone’s ideas, and I studied everything I could, but I could never improve on the recipe from the old smoke house behind the house I was born in — people really seemed to like it. At the beginning I was thinking about curing quickly, maybe one hour for a twelve-lb. ham – I thought if I was going to make it in this business I had to work very fast and quick-cure, which is what the business was. But my daddy told me ‘If you play the other guy’s game, you are always going to lose. Make it the best you can. Quality is what is going to sustain you….

Heritage Magical Meat Tour Heads South: In Search of the Great Country Hams Part 1

Heritage Magical Meat Tour Heads South: In Search of the Great Country Hams Part 1

It was teeming rain on the way from Nashville to Madisonville, Tennessee, the kind of rain that obscures the green, Smoky Mountains of Tennessee behind sheets of steam and fog and sounds like war drums on the roof of a rented car. It didn’t take much imagination to think we were driving through Skull Island, home of King Kong, or had somehow made a detour into the Heart of Darkness, a scene from Apocalypse Now.  The truth, however, was far more comforting: We were on a mission to see a King and Queen of country ham, Al Benton and Nancy Newsom….

CESARE CASELLA – OLD WORLD MEETS NEW, PART 2: THE LEGEND OF THE NORCINI

News of the Heritage Foods partnership with master curemaster, chef, educator, and guru Cesare Casella has spread like wildfire — Cesare is a leader in the new movement for Heritage American charcuterie, and no one is more excited than, well, Cesare!

“The lardo, the rosemary, the juniper berries, the curing salts, those smells are inside my head,” says Cesare. “They are part of me. It’s like being an alchemist. The norcino salumiere transforms the butchers’ meat into something traditional and beautiful. That is what I want to do. And for me, it’s family. Tending the salumi as they age is like caring for my pets as they grow up and mature. They become my best friends!”

The tradition of the norcini started in the town of Norcia in Umbria, high in the Apennines, a place famous for its cured meats. Farming conditions were poor in the mountains, so Norcians ate what they had plenty of, which was the cinghiale, or wild boar, that roamed the forests. They also raised their own pigs, then cured the meats so it would keep for long periods, an art that evolved over the centuries. In time, the norcini became so expert, their art was recognized both by the state and by the Catholic Church. After the trade group, the Confraternita Norcina was founded in 1615, it received the blessing of Pope Paul V. The norcini were considered so skilled, they were allowed to practice surgery, dentistry and bone setting.

The original norcini typically traveled in pairs. There was the butcher who cut up the meat and broke it down, and the salumiere, who turned that meat into salumi. Together, the norcini made the salumi for every season, from fresh sausage for the next day, to prosciutto for the following year. Each duo had its own routes and loyal farmers that it serviced year again and again, and as the men crisscrossed Italy, they carried with them the secret recipes and processes for creating prosciutto and salumi. There were generations of norcini who passed along their secrets to their apprentices who in turn cared for the same family farms decade after decade.

After World War II, as pig farming became industrialized, the norcini began to fade from the Italian countryside, and the visits made to the Casella family and Vipore grew more and more rare. Eventually Cesare took on some of the butchering and salumi-making and also worked with local butchers to get the flavors he wanted for Vipore. His platters of cacciatorini, finocchiona and sopressata became one of the restaurant’s trademarks.

The tradition of the norcini and the flavors and smells of salumi-making in the Italian countryside are what Cesare is drawing on with Casalla’s Salumi Speciali. He is working with farmers dedicated to raising pork as the Norcians did for centuries. Their pigs, he likes to say, are happy pigs. They roam pastures freely. They run around and they roll in the mud. They loll. They’re not dosed with antibiotics. When Cesare makes prosciutto, he cures it on the bone, just as the Norcians did, for that deep, authentic nutty flavor. Just like the norcini, Cesare has his own special recipe for the spices to make his salami and prosciutti.

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