Sunday, April 11, 2010

Italian Speck

My Italian neighbor is giving me an education in Italian food and is bound and determined that I am going to be the next best Italian chef when she is done with me.

This week, she brought me over some Speck and told me to figure out how to use it.

What I have found out is that Speck is made from the hind leg of the pig just like prosciutto and other hams. The leg is deboned then cured in salt, a ton of spices and rested for several weeks.

Speck is then cold-smoked slowly for two to three hours a day for a week using woods such as beech at a temperature never above 68 degrees F. The speck in then matured for five months.

Speck can be used in a lot of pastas, risottos on pizza or hearty breads. It’s great with shellfish and can be chopped up and put into vegetables. It’s also great with apples, sprouts, mushrooms and hearts of celery. It is a smoky alternative to Pancetta.

Besides all of what I have learned this week about Speck, I like the taste. I’m pretty sure now that I’ve discovered how good it is, that I will use it in a lot of dishes to add a great smoky flavor. Look for some recipes in the weeks to come.

Bon Appetit!