Wednesday, May 17, 2006


The first step in making a culatello is boning and removing most of the thigh from the leg of fresh ham, leaving the rounded buttock ("culo" is Italian slang for a rear end).

Cured for several weeks in a mixture of salt, sugar and small amounts of sodium nitrate (also called saltpeter), a preservative, and massaged several times, the meat is spiced with black pepper, tightly encased in a pig's bladder to help maintain its succulence ("creaminess is godliness," or so Mr. Batali says), tied into its characteristic shape and hung up for long, slow aging.

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