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Professional Charcuterie: Sausage Making, Curing, Terrines, and P?tes Hardcover – April 13, 1996
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From the Publisher
Based on three years of research this exceptional culinary book explores the art and practice of fine charcuterie. A master chef and his apprentice/coauthor present over 200 well-honed recipes for sausages, smoked meats, and cured and smoked fish. Covers basic techniques, equipment, sanitation, and safety. Includes curing solutions and smoking instructions as well as recipes and guidelines for healthier products using fat-free oils and dry curing.
From the Back Cover
The complete, contemporary guide to preparing sausages, cured and smoked meats, pâtés and terrines, and cured and smoked fish of the highest quality
Centuries of skill and imagination have earned charcuterie a revered place in the world of gastronomy, and Professional Charcuterie honors that proud tradition. This working manual and treasury of recipes covers the selection and assembly of ingredients, the most effective use of equipment, and the indispensable basics of food safety. Incorporating a wide variety of meats, seafood, fowl, and game, its range of over 200 enticing, culinary classroom-tested recipes includes all the classics of charcuterie, as well as exceptional contemporary favorites. Step-by-step instructions for smoking and curing are clearly presented, as well as illustrated procedures for preparing and stuffing sausages.
Designed for professionals and culinary students as well as home cooks, Professional Charcuterie allows readers to produce superior products upon the very first effort, and to develop their skills to even higher levels.
Top Customer Reviews
Starting right off in the Preface, the author steps into the proverbial cow-pie. `We wanted to address the professional chef, student, and the dedicated amateur-anyone, in fact, who wants to explore the art and practice of fine charcuterie'. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is not nearly enough educational material for an `amateur' let alone `anyone'. Page ix has a long winded essay on nutrition, yet the writing is laughably circumspect, vague, and non-committal.
The author makes a number of statements that I have serious issues with. I will dismiss them as a simple difference of opinion, but I believe the author to be simply wrong. IMHO, this book is not a source of unimpeachable information on charcuterie or anything else.
The entire issue of fresh charcuterie, cured charcuterie, drying, brining, and smoking is a critical subject that all must thoroughly understand before undertaking any recipe in this book, yet all the author devotes to the interweaving of these important subjects is a couple of confusing sentences on page 51. The author does not demonstrate why curing is necessary, what the difference is between wet and dry brines, when to use each one, or what changes in the meat occur, but just skips ahead to discussions of Prague powder and different types of injection needles. The author does not describe why meats were smoked in the first place, why it is still done today, and even if you really have to smoke your charcuterie if you really do not want to or cannot do so because you do not have the proper equipment or expertise. He cannot even bother to describe sodium nitrate, what it is, what it does, and why it is necessary (answer: it is not necessary, but if you leave it out your meats will be various, unappealing shades of grey or brown, and not the happy pink people expect for hot-smoked sausage; if you are brave enough to do a cold-smoked or dried sausage, it is essential to control bacteria).
The information on safety and sanitation is brief, inadequate, and lacking in practical particulars. This can actually be dangerous, since the uninitiated may attempt the recipes without knowing the necessary precautions required in all charcuterie, cured or otherwise (listing various types of bacterial poisoning and their symptoms is nice, but worthless unless you also describe how to avoid them in exacting detail; even here, the author fails: he does not mention Listeria, a much more common and serious bacterial contamination than the ones he lists, ditto for E. Coli).
The first 75 pages are devoted to essays, explanations, and information. Yet, the author does not go into any subject in any depth. The material tends to be vague and perfunctory, sort of like brief excerpts randomly pulled from a student's lecture notes. About the most charitable thing I can say about this section is that it might serve as refresher material for a foodservice professional who may have forgotten some aspects of charcuterie. It is certainly not adequate enough to serve as an educational or learning resource by itself.
Happily, I did like the recipes very much. There are some 150 recipes, presumably tested, professional ones from a cooking school. Most, but not all, recipes are for sausages. Sadly, even here, there is a serious format problem. They are listed in alphabetical order, not very helpful. It would have been more useful (and educational) to have them categorized: cooked, cured, fresh, wet brine, dry brine, hot smoked, cold smoked, hams, sauces, etc. Also useful would have been a complete listing of all recipes and pages numbers in the beginning of the recipe section.
Perhaps the recipes for simple, fresh sausages are within easy reach of any home cook, but a better source is a cookbook devoted entirely to the subject: Bruce Aidells's Complete Sausage Book : Recipes from America's Premium Sausage Maker is specifically aimed at the average home cook.
Even in the recipe section, however, I have some doubts about; based on the first 75 pages, I found it difficult to take the recipes seriously. Many of the fresh sausages seem to have too much added liquid and not enough fat. There is no mention that chunks of meat should NOT be trimmed of fat, or that extra-fatty pieces of meat work better in sausages than lean ones. The recipes do not list the expected fat % of the finished product, nor is there advice anywhere in the book about controlling the fat content of sausages. Many recipes use soy protein concentrate, but the author does not cover this ingredient in his essays; this is a serious deficiency, as few people, even professionals, have ever used it or even know what it is, much less know why it is included in various sausages or how to handle it.
... I really do not know what the other reviewers were looking for in a charcuterie book, though !!