Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Olympic Provisions

Salame from Olympic Provisions
It's not much of a secret that Ann and I are headed to Portland, OR the first week in May when the restaurant takes its annual holiday. And already on our radar screen is Olympic Provisions, the much touted charcutier with two locations in Portland. For me as a charcuterie addict, this seems like a very necessary and worthwhile must-see while we are out on the left coast.

How much of a coincidence is it that after whetting our appetites looking at the Olympic Provisions web site and FB pages in anticipation of our trip that my specialty goods supplier told me on Thursday that they had just started stocking fantastic new salame from OP?

Ann and I had planned to spend Super Bowl Sunday at home just relaxing before the big Valentine's crush. We have forced ourselves to reserve at least one Sunday every once in a while just for us; when we get to running here and yon each Sunday, there just isn't any time for us to decompress and have some downtime. And downtime for me means downtime from cooking as well. As much as I like to cook, it sure is nice to have a day when I just don't have to worry about it.

So that was this past Sunday, Super Bowl Sunday, a day in pajamas, relaxing, sipping wine, and noshing here and there as we felt the urge. We felt the urge early on in the morning while Ann's loaf of bread was doing its final rise and while we were watching a movie, to pop the cork on a bottle of sparkling wine for mimosas.

And how convenient that we had planned a down weekend that corresponded with the arrival of the box of mixed salume from OP? We collected some other things over the course of a couple of days and set them aside for Sunday to accompany the salume and Ann threw together one of her fabulous roasted garlic and rosemary loaves on Saturday afternoon, to bake on Sunday.

Ann's Bread on the Rise

Our Feast sans the Bread
The Olympic Provisions salume from lower left: salchichón, finocchiona, salame di cioccolato, nola, and loukanika. I didn't expect to be able to choose a favorite from among these sausages, but our overwhelming choice was the salchichón. Its nutmeg and clove seasoning was sublime. The finocchiona tasted of black pepper and fennel, though I wish it were just a little heavier on the fennel. The nola tasted of allspice and spicy peppers, similar to the salchichón but just different enough. The Greek-style loukanika was heavy on cumin. The amazing thing about all these sausages, as Ann kept repeating, is the "quality of the fat." The fat in these sausages in unlike any that I have ever tasted and it just melted away in our mouths. Bravo!

The remaining "salame" is made from chocolate, nuts, and dried fruits and is an amusing novelty item that didn't really belong here, but was fun to try anyway.

The other salame on the lower right is an Olli calabrese. The cheeses are a fresh goat cheese, a 5-year old Gouda, and a young Manchego. The yellow sauce next to the cornichons is my incredibly addictive and garlicky saffron aïoli. Just below that is a little dish of potted salmon that I made from scraps and brought home, not thinking about how poorly it would go with our red wine. The red wine and the salmon collided in a head-on trainwreck. Note to self.


Lagrein, a Perfect Choice
While playing backgammon at which I am very much the novice and Ann pretty much the expert (the likelihood of me getting my ass handed to me is high!), we decide to open a bottle of wine and enjoy our feast. I decided to open this Thomas Mayr Lagrein. It was pretty much the perfect choice for our cheese, salume, bread and aïoli, but it and the potted salmon were quite the match from hell!

Ann's bread was awesome and the perfect vehicle for the ridiculous aïoli. I had also got a bottle of Garda DOP olive oil for us to try, but such are the seductive ways of the aïoli that we never got around to it! Next loaf of bread.

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