The new batch of salami wasn’t the first addition to the curing cabinet this fall. I thought I’d ease back into charcuterie mode with something simpler from Salumi, but something that was also an improvement on one of my previous attempts. The lonza cured with orange and fennel met both of those requirements, in particular the “improvement:” I had cured a lonzino last year, but it never dried sufficiently due to it being encased in a thick casing.
A good lonzino begns with good pork, so I ordered an entire pork sirloin from my new meat purveyor, M.F. Dulock Pasture-Raised Meats. They removed the loin from the rack while I waited, and gave me the skin and bones without my having to ask. (There’s ramen stock in them bits.)
I dredged the loin in salt, them packed it in a bag along with sliced oranges, sliced garlic, orange juice, and toasted fennel seeds.
I pressed the loin between two sheet pans, using a curing pancetta as part of the weight. (Yes, that’s beer in the back.)
After a few days I removed the pork, rinsed it in water and then white wine, dusted it with ground fennel, and tied it with elastic netting. Again, I improvised a stuffing tube from a plastic container.
I weighed the tied lonza, then gave it pride of first placement in the curing cabinet.
As of today the entire loin has lost 28% of its weight, but that’s distributed unevenly across the muscle, which is thicker at the top. Relying on feel, I removed a small piece from the bottom that I was sure had dried sufficiently.
Good deep pink color, nice yellow fat, firm texture. How did it taste? It was sweet, porky, a bit funky, but I could detect a citrus note in addition to the fennel. I re-hung the rest, and expect it to be fully dried in another week or so. But in the meantime I have some tasty pork which I might be willing to share.