"I won't say it's a fetish," chef Anthony Scanio says about his charcuterie program at Emeril's Delmonico. "We're not charcuterie geeks. We're more interested in old school style charcuterie." One trip to the restaurant, and it's evident that Scanio and team are passionate about Creole culinary traditions. That Delmonico will remain a part of the discussion of where Creole cuisine is heading in the future is a given. But when it comes to charcuterie, it's all about honoring old world traditions at this Lower Garden District staple. They pretty much introduced New Orleans to the art of the charcuterie program in 2007, and continue to dazzle today. Here now, Scanio discusses 'nduja, Lambrusco pairings, and more.
What's on the board?
We have an assortment of goodies. Cappacolla, what's known as coppa if you're from New York that's gabagool. We have our Soppressatta Calabrese, our chorizo What does that have to do with New Orleans? We have our own version of chorizo called Chaurice reflecting our Spanish heritage. Duck prosciutto, with Morrocan spices. 'Nduja. It's a funny word. It goes back to Napoleonic times...in the boot of Italy, when they had andouille there, and the word got kind of bastardized. It's the old world cousin of andouille.
Lingua (tongue), from an old time recipe I found. It's essentially the best corn beef you'll ever ttaste. It's so marbled. It just melts in your mouth and it's wonderful. Daube Glace, an old school Creole treat. It's jelly meat.. a beef version of headcheese. It's our Creole contribution to charcuterie. It's inspired from George Maras' version, which he developed about 20-25 years ago.
Our pickle program: vinegar peppers, spirited carrots, grapes, spicy bread and butter pickles, marinated mushrooms.
What's your favorite meat on the board?
It's like choosing between your children. I love our 'nduja. Isaac [Toups] was here and was part of that process as well. We were both sous chefs and it was a team effort. We kind of came up with things together.
How did you learn to make charcuterie and sausage?
The time I spent in Italy, most of 2004, really helped open my eyes to this. Literally, it's an everyday thing there. It's just a normal, everyday thing. There's a whole artisinal culture that makes it.
Prior to Italy, I worked at Herbsaint for about a year and a half. Now i was a line cook, but I was there when they started making their own panchetta. And i was like I want to know how do that. I don't think it gets enough credit, but Paul Bertolli--he was a chef at Chez Panisse throughout the 80s, and then at Oliveto in the early 90s and now he has his own charcuterie company Framani [salumi company]--his cookbook came out in 2002, Cooking By Hand. It outlined a certain aesthetic. It outlined salumi as well. I think that, we had that at Herbsaint, and once you start down that road it's just a natural process.
After Katrina, that's the process we started here.
What would you suggest pairing with this charcuterie board drink wise?
Beer works. Bubbles work as well. I would go with a Riesling. It's horribly unfashionable but they make some decent versions, now, like a Lambrusco. Not Riunite on ice. There are better versions available now. A sazerac would work as well.
Who else in town is honoring charcuterie and sausage traditions?
Alon Shaya at Domenica does a beautiful job with salumi as well. Isaac puts more of a Cajun touch to it, which is interesting, Donald Link and Stephen at Cochon do too. I've had Ancora's, and I think they do a nice job. It's become this labor of love, and I think it's expected at this point.
· The Five Days of Meat 2014 [-ENOLA-]
*Interview has been condensed