A couple of days ago I had my first article published in Tablet Magazine, my absolute favorite source of quality Jewish news and interesting content. I’m behind myself with excitement.
My article is dedicated to a topic I’ve never addressed here on Labna before, but that some of you might find of interest: it’s about the Jewish tradition of substituting goose for pork in cooking (to adhere to the Jewish rules of kasherut, of course!) and the ancient craft of making Kosher prosciutto and goose salami.
You can find my piece on Tablet: the title is “How to make Kosher prosciutto“, a title that feels a bit like clickbait but is actually legit since the piece does contain a recipe to make Kosher prosciutto… from geese.
Especially for my readers, I have also created a step-by-step picture tutorial on how to make goose charcuterie, including both Kosher prosciutto and goose salami.
The pictures that make up the video above were taken by my friend Claudia Di Francescantonio; the crafty hands in the pictures as well as the recipes I share belong to Anna Campos, who deserves all the gratitude in the world for the generous way she passes down the secret of Jewish Venetian food to the younger generations.
Prosciutto e salame d'oca
- 1 whole goose
- 2 tbsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp allspice
- 12 tbsp salt
- synthetic casings
- Ask your butcher to pluck, clean and empty the goose of all the entrails. If possible, ask to also have the skin of the neck set aside for later usage.
- Bring the goose home and place it on a cutting board, breast side up. Stop for a moment, inspect the goose and say: “no ghe se più le oche de ‘na olta” (geese are not as good as they used to be). Anna, who taught me the recipe, says that complaining about the goose is of vital importance to the process. In a bowl, mix together salt, freshly ground black pepper and allspice.
- First of all, use a very sharp knife to carve out the legs. Find the soft and fatty spot in each thigh where the leg connects to the body and start cutting around the leg from there; move on to cutting into the tendon, so that the leg can pull away easily.
- At this point, decide if you want your prosciutto on the bone or not; if not, separate the meat from the bone and set the bones aside. In any case, keep the skin attached to the legs: you can make prosciutto using just the meat, but the skin adds to its flavour.
- Next, cut the goose along the breastbone in the middle to separate the breast meat from the body.
- Carve each breast gently, keeping the skin on, and once you are done carving trim away the extra bits of skin and fat, to obtain two neatly shaped breasts. At this point, whatever is left on the carcass is for salami making.
- With the help of a second person, pull the bones from opposite sides to crack the carcass open in two, then carve out all the meat left on it and set it aside in a bowl. The bones can be treasured to flavour broths and soups.
- After all the carving, you should have on the counter: legs, both of which will become prosciutto breasts, which you can allocate either both to prosciutto or one to salami and one to prosciutto some odd bits and pieces of meat and skin, for the salami and the gribole.
- Prosciutto To make prosciutto, place the meat (the same procedure applies for legs and breasts) in a glass bowl, rub it generously with 1/3 of the mix of spices and leave it to rest in the fridge. The total resting time for the meat in the fridge is 7 days.
- For the first six days, remove any liquid that might have formed and repeat the rubbing every two days.
- On the sixth day, take out the leg and use a sterile needle and food-safe thread to sew the meat around the bone (or on itself, if you decided to avoid the bone) to perfect the shape of your prosciutto. The breast doesn’t require any sewing if you trimmed it well.
- Put the meat back in the fridge, cover it loosely with cling film and press it down with a weight (e.g. a heavy jar) for 24 hours.
- Pat the meat with a paper towel, tie it with string and hang it somewhere cool: traditionally, the meat is left to season and dry open air, outside in the winter, or in a wine cellar in the summer. The prosciutto is safe to eat as early as a month into the drying, but it’s best left to season for 3-4 months.
- Luganegotto (dried salami) Collect all the leftover meat and skin on the carcass and chop it with the knife, together with the one breast previously set aside. It’s also acceptable to grind the meat instead of chopping it by hand, should you prefer to proceed that way. To make the salami, you will need either the skin from the neck of the goose or store- bought synthetic casings.
- If you decide to proceed with the skin option, sew it together to form a long and wide rectangle and rub the skin with some of the spice mix used for prosciutto.
- Place all the filling inside the skin and roll it up tightly, sawing as you go, to obtain a salami shape.
- Poke some very small holes in the skin with a needle to let the air escape and make sure to squeeze well your salami to remove as much air as possible. You can make one long salami or create multiple smaller ones by tying the salami with string as many times as you like.
- If you decide to opt for a store-bought synthetic casing, remember to soften it in warm water before usage, then flip it to rub the inside with spices and flip it again to fill it.
- Exactly like the prosciutto, the salami is left to season and dry open air, outside in the winter, or in a wine cellar in the summer. The salami is safe to eat after 2-3 months of seasoning.