Category Archives: Charcuterie & Cold Cuts

Duck Prosciutto – Annabelle’s Bar & Bistro (SF)


It takes a lot of effort to make prosciutto. Generally about 18 months or so, and some serious patience to watch it hang until it’s ready. But when it comes, it makes patience aphoristically virtuous. But thankfully, we can just order prosciutto without the watch and wait.

Duck prosciutto - Annabele's Bar & Bistro (SF)

Duck prosciutto – Annabele’s Bar & Bistro (SF)

Annabelle’s Bar & Bistro recently offered a small plate of their special house-made duck prosciutto, paired with sweet, thick cantaloupe slices. It was more colorful than a circus: bright green, orange, purple-black, various hues of brown and tan, and blush. The duck was lush and not exceedingly smoky, striped with translucent fat. A small hailstorm fall of smoked almonds were scattered across the plate, most within a dazzling verdant swathe of arugula puree. And fig vino cotto, like an indigo oil spill, haunted the plate as a fabulous substitute for aged balsamic. A panoply of great color, taste and texture; a memorable prosciutto platter from Annabelle’s Bar & Bistro. (The dinner menu has a more Mediterranean prosciutto platter appetizer with pecorino cheese, olives, roasted peppers, and crostini for $15.)

The Grade: Excellent

The Damage: $15

The Tip: Annabelle’s has a three-course prix fixe nightly ($33)

The Skinny: Annabelle’s Bar & Bistro
68 – 4th Street, San Francisco CA
Phone: (415) 777-1200

Executive Chef Larry Piaskowy of Annabelle's Bar & Bistro

Executive Chef Larry Piaskowy of Annabelle’s Bar & Bistro


SF Chefs. Food. Wine. – Charcuterie Plates


There were a few charcuterie items at SF Chefs. Food. Wine.  All were just great.

Fra’ Mani offered a lovely plate of various olives and their very rich salume made with red wine. It was dense and delicious, and a wildly colorful little plate. Paul Bertolli and his team had a little assembly line in play, and a tempting array of salume decorating their space.

Fra'Mani Salume and olives

Fra’Mani Salume and olives

Corso restaurant in Berkeley also featured charcuterie at the SF Chefs. Food. Wine. opening night. Chef Rodrigo da Silva and his team had a tasty little charcuterie plate with two types of salume (less intensely flavored than Fra’Mani), and a really fantastic, pistachio-mottled mortadella. Both salume were great, and I could have eaten a pound of the mortadella alone. Trattoria Corso also had a baby burrata stuffed with figs and drizzled with honey. It was thankfully not too sweet in its amazing mouthful of chewy, creamy, and nutty flavors. The little bundle reminded me of a silent film bank robbery stash. Their Italian cheese delight was a big hit for everyone who tried it. I think Chef Rodrigo da Silva and Trattoria Corso needs more attention paid to it, given two stellar little dishes like this.

Trattoria Corso's plates at SF Chefs. Food. Wine. 2009

Trattoria Corso’s plates at SF Chefs. Food. Wine. 2009

Chris Cosentino and his pals from Boccalone & Incanto restaurant served up schmears of Boccalone’s Southern Italian n’duja (or nduja). Chris & Mark currently offer the only commercially available n’duja in the States. This spicy Calabrian pig sausage is spreadable…yep, a spreadable salume. N’duja is smooth but chewy, with a slightly stringy, grassy texture that makes it a unique (and fun) oral event. Its spreadability, pepperiness, and wild, raver-orange coloration make Boccalone n’duja a great party platter feature. The n’duja is noticeably piquant, with a wonderful, lingering flavor and medium heat that cools down after awakening your palate. Served simply on a crostini with a bit of olive oil; small but powerful flavor. Love the stuff, and you can get it at Boccalone in the Ferry Building or order it online.

Boccalone's Nduja @ SF Chefs. Food. Wine. 2009

Boccalone’s Nduja @ SF Chefs. Food. Wine. 2009

Charcuterie plate – Poggio – Sausalito CA


Peter McNee of Poggio (Sausalito CA)  at  Cochon555, San Francisco

June 0f 2009 was the cruelest month, for there were some unbelievable dining events. The best of these, far and away, was Cochon 555. A friendly competition between 5 of the Bay Area’s best chefs, each of whom had a different breed of heritage pig to cook and make dishes from. Unbelievable. I could write 100 posts on that event alone. And I just might…

Among the (many) favorite dishes of the evening was a splendid charcuterie plate from Peter McNee, the chef at Poggio restaurant in Sausalito. (Poggio won the event and was crowned SF’s “Prince of Porc” for the season.) Pork cotto, pastrami, tongue, rillette, mortadella, uh, did I miss anything? This was just a beautiful array of tastes, textures, and visual stun. The salumi and friends with their fatty, nutty, meaty spots looked like an Impressionist (or stipling) landscape. The giant platter looked even better than my plate, with each meat sliced and stacked. That’s my idea of cornucopia.

Cochon555 SF: Charcuterie Plate from Poggio's Peter McNee

Cochon555 SF: Charcuterie Plate from Poggio’s Peter McNee

When you visit Poggio, sit at the bar for your appetizer if it’s Tuesday through Saturday. Ask Tony the bar man for the house-made prosciutto ($15 for the platter); it’s not on the menu and only available while supplies last. (Honestly, since they’ve been aging their prosciutto for nearly 2 years now; it won’t last long.)

And **do not miss** any future Cochon555 event. Sign up for the newsletter (upper RH corner once page loads) so you know when they’ll return in the fall.
Poggio on Urbanspoon

Prosciutto & Melon


Newsom's Kentucky Prosciutto

Newsom’s Kentucky Prosciutto

 I knew bourbon came from Kentucky but never suspected it also kicks out one of the best prosciutto products you might find in the US. Robust and full-flavored, this is one fantastic appetizer at Maverick restaurant in San Francisco. The prosciutto’s so good, you might forget to wrap it around the melon chunks (canteloupe).  A few basil tips flesh out a mouthful of flavors and oh, there’s also a little dry Jack cheese mousse. The flavors of the shoot-o, basil, and melon were plenty, so I doled my mouse onto a snip of sourdough instead. A great app to share with a friend or two.

Lagniappe: Great NYT story on country ham includes a bit on Colonel Newsom and his Kentucky prosciutto:

Newsom’s Kentucky Prosciutto is available online if you can read the tiny Little League 1970s font that somehow remains popular among people who probably don’t read much. So you can order yourself some good ole country ham prosciutto for later, after you try it at Maverick. I do reckon you’ll order it at both.

Newsom's Kentucky Prosciutto

Newsom’s Kentucky Prosciutto

THE GRADE: AWESOME (highest grade)
3316 17th Street San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone: (415) 863-3061