I recently mentioned on twitter that having the first meat of the season hanging in the basement made me feel like our house was a home again. Someone (who are you? I can’t find the tweet now!) replied “It’s modern mistletoe!”
That got me to thinking about how meat curing is a tasty metaphor for my nearly-eleven-year-long marriage to Alex.
Some couples like to have independent hobbies but we like being in each other’s business. Even before I ate meat, I assisted Alex with charcuterie because it’s a fascinating hobby.
Meat curing and marriage benefit from a healthy dose of humor. Much of making bacon (or duck prosciutto in this case) is icky work – there’s raw meat, mildly-toxic salt, and the possibility of insects being attracted to the drying meat. The cure for the gross parts of curing is to laugh. We make jokes (sausage is especially good for word play), gently tease, and sometimes try to drip meat juice on a spouse during a photo shoot. It’s all good fun.
When meat is done curing, we cook up creative dishes together. In the case of the duck prosciutto, we added it to homemade pizza. Alex made the dough and I popped open a jar of my home-canned tomato sauce. We added a pile of arugula and mozzarella before topping the ‘za with thin prosciutto slices and a grate of Parmesan.
Alex and I enjoyed the pizza with a glass of wine and candle on the table in the company of our daughter Lil (who also served as the photographer for the three portraits above). We savored the from-scratch food we made together.
Curing meat challenges us to work together, listen to each other, and enjoy the finer things in life. Meat IS our modern mistletoe, the object under which we find love.
Duck Prosciutto Pizza
Makes: 1 12-inch pizza
Time: 2 hours dough, 20 minutes assembly, 7-10 minutes cooking
1/4 recipe homemade pizza dough
1/4 cup tomato sauce
3 ounces fresh arugula
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 ounces duck prosciutto, sliced as thinly as possible
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Heat oven to 450 degrees F with a baking stone on center rack.
2. Make a thin circle from the dough and place on a cornmeal dusted pizza peel or back of a cookie sheet.
3. Top pizza with a bit of tomato sauce, then arugula and mozzarella cheese.
4. Arrange duck prosciutto and top with Parmesan.
5. Transfer pizza to the baking stone.
6. Bake for 7-10 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly brown. Remove from oven, let rest 1-2 minutes, cut, and serve.
This post is a part of the year-long Charcutepalooza challenge. Read below for our other meat-curing adventures and reflections.
Waste Not, Want Not Squirrel Rillettes
English Pork Pie Photojournal
Almost All-Ohio Mouselline
How to Make Hot Dogs Like a Girl
Mint Lamb Sausage Inspired by Jorgensen Farms
Taco Truck Chorizo Sopito
Red’s Canadian Bacon or Why I Had to Kill a Pig To Eat Meat Again
The Story of the Rachel
Salt Cure Old and New
Cider Syrup Bacon