We started construction today. Better said, we started deconstruction today. This means we went from having a dysfunctional kitchen to a completely non-functional kitchen. The difference being a single gas burner which is always hot, even when not in use, is no longer at our disposal. Given the relatively limited use we were accustomed to, most of my cooking has been grilling, but when a door closes, others open. We now have a garage and, from an earlier garage project, I have nearly a gallon of magic ramp kraut juice. Like the yogurt whey used earlier this summer, kraut juice works well as a fermentation starter.
In addition to sitting on a little more kraut juice than I feel comfortable, I have boatloads of Calabrian chili powder for making nduja. With those two prime-time ingredients at my disposal, I looked to make some quick fermented salumi. There is no traditional salumi to match this to, but rather a simple gathering of spices added to pork then fermented and dried.
I treated the fabrication process in much the same way as when I made chorizo. Mix the sausage, ferment the sausage, and then dry the sausage. Unlike the chorizo, I was a bit more careful to not overdry the sausages in my wine fridge, misting the interior about twice per week and maintaining a bowl of salted water in the wine fridge and checking the weight every week.
I was excited to try the ramp kraut as a fermentation starter. After stirring it in, the sausages hung in the June summer heat for a day and a half. As the whey fermented Issan sausages did, the color of the sausages turned markedly in the fermentation period. As the sausages were sprayed with mold-inocculated water, there was a slight covering of white mold going into the wine fridge. I would suspect if these sausages remained outside, the whole sausage would have been covered in the beneficial white mold.
Once the sausages hit 30% weight loss, I bagged them in the fridge. Days later, we had a friend over for lunch with no time to prepare. In a house with country ham, sausage and a garden, we had a fantastic lunch of salumi, radishes, heirloom lettuces and country ham. The salumi was more fennel-forward than I expected, but the heat creeps up quickly. The Calabrian pepper powder is serious business, but it does not overpower the sweetness from the fennel or the sourness of the fermented pork.
These were a marked improvement over the chorizo in texture and flavor. Keeping the kraut juice proved to be a good move. Using what we already had in the house was an even better move.
Spicy Calabrian Salame
- 800 grams pork shoulder – lean and fat
- 200 grams pork fat
- 20 grams kosher salt
- 5 grams dextrose
- 10 grams Calabrian pepper powder
- 3 grams curing salt
- 2 grams granulated garlic
- 3 grams freshly cracked black pepper
- 5 grams ground fennel seed
- 2 tablespoons ramp kraut juice
- 2 tablespoons white wine
Step one: Partially freeze pork and fat. Grind twice through small die.
Step two: Add remaining ingredients and, using a paddle attachment or stand mixer, mix until bound.
Step three: Stuff sausages into pork casings. Twist into links and using a needle, puncture casing to remove air pockets. Weigh each set of links. Record weights.
Step four: In a clean spray bottle, add water and casings with white mold. Shake a let sit for 8 hours.
Step five: Hang the sausages to ferment at temps between 80 and 100 degrees F for 24-36 hours. Spraying with moldy water periodically.
Step six: Hang sausage in a curing chamber, cold corner of your house, or in a wine fridge until 30% weight loss has been achieved. These took two weeks. I sprayed the sausages periodically while hanging.