CHARCUTERIE—a culinary specialty that originally referred to the creation of pork products such as salami, sausages, and prosciutto—is true food craftsmanship, the art of turning preserved food into items of beauty and taste. Today the term encompasses a vast range of preparations, most of which involve salting, cooking, smoking, and drying. In addition to providing classic recipes for sausages, terrines, and pates, Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn expand the definition to include anything preserved or prepared ahead such as Mediterranean olive and vegetable rillettes, duck confit, and pickles and sauerkraut. Ruhlman, coauthor of The French Laundry Cookbook, and Polcyn, an expert charcuterie instructor at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Michigan, present 125 recipes that are both intriguing to professionals and accessible to home cooks, including salted, airdried ham; Maryland crab, scallop, and saffron terrine; Da Bomb breakfast sausage; mortadella and soppressata; and even spicy smoked almonds.
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