Thursday, May 20, 2010

Salumi at Cube

Cube Marketplace in Los Angeles is a salumi and cheese lovers paradise, and if you've read my posts from a few months back, you know that I enjoy all types of cured meats. The menu of cheeses and meats alone takes two pages to cover, and it's all on display behind the large glass opening in the store's cooler. A lovely woman with blue hair (it may be a different color by the time you visit, as I don't think it was natural) was described to me as the cheese guru. She was as advertised as well as being incredibly knowledgeable about the salumi choices.

After sampling quite a few, I finally settled on these (from left to right):

Barolo from Creminelli - A dense salami made in the true Italian style by an Italian transplant who basically moved to Utah so he could supply this great country with his great salami (it can't be imported due to FDA rules). It's very chewy, with mild spice and a hint of nuttiness. I'd been searching for a retail outlet of this salami since reading about it in Meatpaper, so I was happy to find it here. I was even happier to find it back in Dallas at an equally good cheese shop on Oak Lawn called Scardello.

Jamon Iberico de Bellota - Thin slices of delicate meat clinging loosely to the most delicate melty fat imaginable. Of course it's salty, but the rich flavor imbued by the acorn diet of the pigs (that's what the "bellota" part indicates) is unique to any sort of prosciutto you might be used to.

Nduja from Baccalone - Chris Cosentino's salumi company in Oakland produces this loosely packed, spreadable and spicy mixture of pork, fat and chilis. It is smoked then fermented to create a unique tanginess. The NYT describes it this way "Nduja is part of the Italian sausage family known as salami dal spalmare, spreadable salamis, made by finely grinding fat and meat and then aging the paste in a casing." I liked it best of all the choices on the board.

Wild Boar Salami by Fatted Calf - This unique salami from Napa has blue cheese overtones, and was actually reminiscient of boiled crawfish on the back of the tongue. The flavor was strong, so a little went a long way. Slice it thin.

I also sampled a lamb prosciutto from Seattle's Salumi. It was far too gamey for me, but I look forward to trying more of their offerings on my next trip. Thanks again to Barri, Rachael, and the girl with the blue hair. I'll be looking for your help again next time I'm in town.

- BBQ Snob

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Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.