There are restaurants the world over, playing lip-service to “slow food” and “from-scratch” cooking. As always, the proof is in the proverbial pudding. There is one ingredient on Peasant Cookery’s Charcuterie Board that takes six months to prepare. How’s that for slow food!
The art of curing and hanging meat was originally done before the advent of refrigeration. In recent times, chefs go to the trouble because of the unique tastes and flavours of house-made charcuterie. When I say that Peasant Cookery goes to the “trouble” I mean this; they acquire the Berkshire pork directly from the farmer, butcher it themselves, grind it in-house, cure it, extrude sausages into natural casings and hang it to age. The length of aging is variable and ranges from two weeks to two months. The hung items are weighed on an ongoing basis to determine if 35 to 40 per cent of the moisture content has been reduced. At that point, it is deemed ready for consumption.
When a charcuterie board is placed in front of you at Peasant Cookery, your server is likely to give you a tour of the selection of meats on the platter. Writing as furiously as I could, I jotted down Landjäger, Andouille, Hunter, Pepperoni and Diablo sausages along with country pate, chicken liver mousse, beef bresaola and duck prosciutto!
In the midst of the server’s dissertation, I made note of another word – “lardo”. Were we hearing correctly? We were being served lard? This is the item that takes six months to prepare. Applying an ancient Italian process, lard is cut, cured and aged for half a year, creating a creamy, luxurious product. The resulting taste is unique in its sweet nuttiness.
We shared our charcuterie board amongst the family as our starter and then went on to sup upon tourtière, mahi mahi, spaghetti with clams and bacon, more Berkshire pork and the pièce de résistance (according to our daughter) aged cheddar gnocchi tossed with sautéed sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, red onion and piquillo peppers in a moat of basil oil. We were well fed and well pleased.
The Peasant Cookery promises rustic, seasonal, from-scratch food – it delivers, and then some.
Review and photo by Kathryne Grisim