Craft Beer, Fine Wine, Artisan Spirits, and Mouthgasmic Food.
Monday, June 18, 2012
Dinner with @ColumbusSalame @CarillonAustin, Drool Away!
The few days before the Austin Food and Wine Festival was kind of like the few days before Christmas. Parties and meeting were going on all day long. The Columbus Salame dinner the Carillon was a real treat. A big thanks to Columbus Salame for hosting a lovely meal. Most photos by John M. P. Knox.
The evening started off with some bubbly, straight up salame, and a salame education. Columbus Salame is produced in a number of sizes and flavors. The basic flavor of salame is pork and pork fat. When you cut into a piece of salame, it should have distinctive areas of meat and fat. If it looks emulsified, you probably need to upgrade your salame selection. Other flavors that can be incorporated in salame can be spices and herbs.
Salame can be big or small. Slice thin or thick for different textures. Thicker slices for chewier, meatier textures. Thinner slices for a more delicate flavor. You can see in the picture below that the meat and the fat are distinct, and not blended into something pink and homogenous looking.
Photo by John M. P. Knox
The dishes were prepared by Chef Josh Watkins and crew at the Carillon, and they are bound to make you think twice about salame as an ingredient in dishes.
This first dish is mache, watermelon, secchi, and minus 8 syrup. It was absolutely fantastic. Fatty meat with freshing watermelon was a fantastic way to cleanse and wake up the palate. Photo by John M. P. Knox
Hawaiian Blue Prawns, finocchiona, charred tomato, corn butter, and cilantro was my favorite. It reminded me of Cajun cooking - shrimp, corn, butter, and pork fat flavor - with a well-balanced flair. This dish was not so complex that the flavors were lost, but rather all the flavors blended together like a Piano Guys melody. Also, like a true Texan, I sucked the shrimp heads. I know it isn't ladylike, but it is a shrimp with the head on. That's the best part. Keep in mind that you're supposed to such the heads of crawfish too. A good foodie does not let the best part go to waste. Photo by John M. P. Knox
This dessert was a combination of some of my favorite flavors. I love almond. I love almond cake. I love just about anything almond. And I really like almond scented soaps. This dessert was Almond cake, fennel butter, hot sopressata caramel, fennel chips, hot sopressata brittle, and olive oil ice cream. Almost cake plus salame brittle was comfort food in several ways. The almond cake reminded me of desserts I ate growing up, and brittle made of pork and fat needs no words. This was a fantastic way to end a fantastic meal. Thank you to @ColumbusSalame and @CarillonAustin for hosting such a fantastic dinner! Photo by John M. P. Knox