Salumi: How many Chefs have been led astray by this Book?


Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn…  What an amazing book, absolute food porn for us Chefs and foodies alike.  The problem is two fold, first, it has me curing everything in sight.  I got five Kuni Kuni pigs from Cook Pig the other day.  I normally use them all for Porchetta but got a bug up my ass and decide to make a ton of charcuterie.  I suppose I should back up and mention that I am Chef of Figue Mediterranean in La Quinta, California…  a relatively new restaurant hopefully popping up on the national level soon.  One of the big features of our operation is a charcuterie bar reminiscent of a high end sushi bar.  The intent was always that we would make our own charcuterie but I never had much time till now.  I suppose the whole opening a restaurant thing got in the way.

Figue Training 09So today sous chef extraordinaire Alex Hernandez and myself set about curing everything in sight.  Filetto cured with Aleppo Pepper and Orange; citrus and fennel cured lonzo, pancetta, spicy guanciale and my first attempt at coppa…  I scared our sommelier Celeste because I told her that I would hang my meat in her wine box since the temperature and humidity was perfect.  I think the thought of over 100 pounds of meat hanging next to her great wine selections scared her…


Here are photos from the day’s work sprinkled with a few other forays into Charcuterie world:

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Lamb Mortadella made from Elysian Fields lamb…  It tastes so good!  I have been serving it with house made Fig Pickles

IMG_20130712_123929_178Truffled Veal Sausage that I featured for my Bastille Day menu…  The focus was Famous Last Meals from the Bastille.  The Marquis de Sade ate these.

IMG_20130727_160925_333 IMG_20130727_144426_338cures and a rather tattered kitchen notebook dating back to 2003

IMG_20130727_145246_158 IMG_20130727_144354_346 IMG_20130727_142702_887All in all we cured 100 pounds of freshly butchered pork.  We used the salt box method which essentially is rubbing every single crevice of meat in coarse sea salt, vacuum packing everything then letting it sit refrigerated for a few days.  The basic procedure for all whole muscle meats is the same.  What varied and will vary is the seasoning in the final curing.  Since my palate of flavors includes France, Italy Spain, Basque region, Lebanon, Greece, Morocco and anywhere else in the Mediterranean I have a lot of historical flavor combinations to pull from, not too mention the mixing of cultures.  In six weeks we will have a tasty selection of house meats for our charcuterie bar.







Figue Mediterranean previews 2014 Jaguar F-Type Roadster

3T9A2319Figue Mediterranean to preview 2014 Jaguar F-Type Roadster

Figue Mediterranean (47-474 Washington St., La Quinta; (760) 698-9040) has joined forces with Desert European Motorcars (71-387 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage; (760) 773-5000) to host a special preview of the all-new 2014 Jaguar F-Type Roadster at a cocktail reception 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 7.  This will be the first opportunity for area residents to get a preview look at the new F-Type, which officially launches nationwide the week of June 6.“We believe that our guests and luxury car enthusiasts have a lot in common, including a passion for great style and fine taste,” said Lee Morcus, owner of Figue. “With the F-Type Roadster, we also share the common element of being true to tradition on one hand and cutting edge on the other. At Figue, we’re proud to say we’re changing the way people of the Palm Springs area enjoy exciting food and wine, while the F-Type Roadster is Jaguar’s first truly new sports car in 50 years and it’s been getting stunning reviews. It makes perfect sense to combine the two into one fun and delicious event.”

“The purity and elegance of the Jaguar F-Type design gives the F-Type lasting beauty. The proportions and stance communicate muscularity and latent energy. High power and low weight means effortless speed. Truly breathtaking,” says David Murphy, president of Jaguar Rancho Mirage/Desert European Motorcars.

At the Jaguar long lead press launch last fall, Car & Driver reported, “The F-type revealed its cunning on the Navarra Circuit in Spain and while attacking the Pyrenean foothills. After living with the comeback cat for a couple of days, we are certain this is not the reprise of your uncle’s vintage sports car or an abridged version of the Jaguar cruisers battling the luxury German juggernaut. Rather, the F-type is a feline bred with a wild streak and a feral yearning to meet or beat Porsche’s best moves.”

“We cast one unanimous ballot for the F-Type for top honors in Paris. We were simply taken with the style, the performance potential, and the heritage,” said at the Paris Auto Show in October.

See for yourself at Figue Mediterranean on June 7. For information and reservations, contact Diana Marlo at or call (760) 773-5000.

About Figue Mediterranean: Figue Mediterranean, located at 47-474 Washington Street in La Quinta, (760) 698-9040. Figue Mediterranean seats dinner from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday and from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The Figue Bar opens at 4 p.m. and remains open until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday night for cocktails and light food. Brunch is available on all major weekend holidays. Figue also is available for private events or celebrations, and for on- and off-site catering. Complimentary valet parking is available. All major cards accepted. For more information or to make reservations, please call Figue at (760) 698-9040 or visit their website “Like” Figue on Facebook at and follow them on Twitter: @EatFigue.


New Jaguar F Type Unvieling at Figue 060713 09 New Jaguar F Type Unvieling at Figue 060713 10 New Jaguar F Type Unvieling at Figue 060713 12 New Jaguar F Type Unvieling at Figue 060713 13