Marco Cucina Romana’s salumi

The cure for the common cure
By KENJI ALT  |  September 26, 2007
olives_inside

Whether it’s chorizo, a terrine of foie gras, beef jerky, or just plain hot dogs, I’m a fan of all forms of cured meat. So when I saw a 100-percent-house-made salumi plate on offer at chef Marc Orfaly’s cozy-but-high-end Italian restaurant Marco, in the North End, I immediately knew what I was having for dinner that night.

I made my first dent in the significant platter with a bite of the charred, EVOO-brushed grilled bread. It was nearly good enough to distract me before I even got to the main attraction: the meat. Mortadella can often feel and taste like plastic, but this one was completely smooth, highly seasoned, and unusually rich — like the love child of my childhood bologna and a lobe of foie gras. After cleansing my palate with a little bite of the pickled peppers hidden under the bread, I moved on to the dried fermented sausage selection. First up, saucisson-sec: a classic sausage seasoned only with salt and pepper. Sliced translucently thin, it literally melted in my mouth like a pork-flavored breath strip.

The only disappointment (and it was a slight one) was the Tuscan salami. Though the flavoring, seasoning, and texture of the large pockets of fat and finely ground pork were spot-on, it had a slight aftertaste — like something had gone wrong during the fermentation process, a slight lapse in temperature or humidity control. But the final item more than made up for it. I’d never understood how a country so rich in culinary tradition as Italy could have produced the greasy, one-dimensional product known as pepperoni until I tried it at Marco. So this is what pepperoni is supposed to taste like: hot, lean, and salty, but with a tangy underlying sweetness that can only come from proper curing and aging. It was the highlight of the platter, and a testament to the formidable skill of the charcutier in the kitchen. One pepperoni pizza, hold the pizza please.

Available for $19 at Marco Cucina Romana, 253 Hanover Street, in Boston. Call 617.742.1276.

  Topics: Hot Plate , Culture and Lifestyle, Food and Cooking, Foods,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY KENJI ALT
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   TEMPLE BAR’S BEEF CARPACCIO  |  October 22, 2008
    Beef carpaccio has suffered an unfortunate fate.  
  •   BROOKLINE FAMILY RESTAURANT’S DÖNER KEBAB  |  October 29, 2008
    This Greek-turned-Turkish restaurant serves up fresh, authentic fare that could put to ease homesick Turks and Brits alike.  
  •   ROSTICERIA CANCUN DOS  |  August 06, 2008
    The first and most striking difference is that Cancun Dos has tables and a kitchen (at Cancun Uno, you had to settle for a counter and a stove).
  •   TANGO'S MOLLEJA  |  October 29, 2008
    The molleja act as carrier for the intense flavor of the grill and boasts a crisp, salty, nearly blackened crust.  
  •   EL POTRO  |  July 23, 2008
    Like a Mexican wrestling luchador, El Potro hides its true identity under a mask.

 See all articles by: KENJI ALT