We are thrilled to have the unique opportunity to partner with Anderson Farms in Granville to cure our own authentic Italian charcuterie. Anderson Farms’ owner, James Anderson has become somewhat of a local food celebrity in the Columbus area. In addition to running the ever expanding Anderson Farms, he’s a seasoned cook, owns the award-winning Rayray’s Hog Pit food truck, builds and rebuilds food trucks and mentors several new food truck owners in the area.
Anderson Farms specializes in raising the best possible pigs for barbecue and charcuterie. Currently, you’ll find numerous heritages of hog roaming in open pastures on the grounds. The pigs at Anderson Farms are treated humanely and with respect – they’re raised slowly and naturally with plenty of fresh air and open pastures rather than being confined. This results in happier, healthier animals as well as a harvest of meat with deep color, rich flavor and plenty of marbling.
We received a whole Mangalista hog from Anderson. The Mangalista heritage is an Old World Hungarian breed that is sometimes called the ‘Kobe beef of pork’ due to its rich flavor and fatty, marbled meat. We set out to cure the entire animal using the ‘real deal’ Italian preparations to serve at Marcella’s in the Short North. We’re making prosciutto from the leg, capicola from the shoulder, pancetta from the belly, lonza from the loin, the thick back fat typical of the Mangalista breed will be whipped into lardo (kind of like butter) and we’ll make sopressata with everything else.
We recently spent the day learning and executing the first steps for all of the authentic Italian preparations for our charcuterie:
- Prosciutto – The leg is covered in salt and cured for two weeks, then after about a week, the parts that aren’t covered in skin are covered in rendered lard to keep it from drying out. The next step is to weigh it and hang it until it weighs 30% less – this could take up to a year and a half.
- Capicola – The shoulder is cured for nine days, then flipped and cured for nine more days. After the second cure, we’ll pull it out, rinse off the salt and let it dry overnight, cut it into about one- or two-inch square pieces and season with a sugar and spice mixture containing lots of paprika and cayenne. The cubed, seasoned meat is then pressed by hand into a natural casing, which then hangs for two months before being sliced and served.
- Pancetta – Pancetta is a lot like bacon, but it isn’t smoked. We take the belly, apply the rub, flip it every two days for two weeks, roll it up and hang it for about a week before it’s ready to slice.
- Lonza – we cure the loin in salt and spices for two weeks, take it out, rinse it, wrap it in cheese cloth, tie it up and let it hang for about two weeks. Once it’s ready, we’ll thinly slice and serve.
- Sopressata – Sopressata is a spicy salami – all of the high quality meat that doesn’t make it into the other charcuterie is ground up with spices and a yeast culture – the ratios of salt, sugar and yeast are important to get the fermentation process just right. The salami is hung to dry until it’s ready to eat.
- Peter Chapman | Regional Chef, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants