On a dreary Chicago night about 20 Dames gathered at Urban Union a “newer” restaurant on Taylor Street in the little Italy section of town for a Chacuterie tasting. Urban Union makes the most of the Charcuterie they serve in house.
Josh Marrelli, the Chef de Cuisine, explained to us the flavors we were tasting. We had four housemade charcuterie: a Seafood Mousseline with tarragon and lemon and Pig Pate with Calabrian chiles, something he referred to as magic spice (or secret spice) and bay leaf.
For his duck breast prosciutto, the whole duck is used and the seasoning is juniper and bay. This recipe originated at Star’s Restaurant by Jeremiah Tower. Rounding out the four main dishes was Chicken Live Mousse, with bourbon, shallots, chicken liver, heavy cream, softened butter and Dijon mustard.
There were a few other items on the platters including salmon rillettes. The chef is passionate about Bacalao so he created a traditional version of a Brandade with olive oil and garlic confit and then made us his favorite “twist” on this dish by creating Brandade fritters.
There was a simple but lovely farro salad and great wine pairings. Two French and an Italian wine were paired with our tasting: Domaine Remizieres, Syrah, Vin de Pays de la Drowe, An Enzo Mecella-Rosso Piceno-Colle Malvano and a Cotes-du-Rhone 2006-Tardieu Laurent.
Chef Josh suggests cooking farro like you would pasta with lots of liquid- overcooking slightly and cool completely before serving as salad.
1 cup farro (spelt)
4 cups water
1 cup white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
1 diced shallot
3 sprigs parsley
2 thyme sprigs
6 whole peppercorns
1. To make farro combine all ingredients; bring to a boil; reduce heat; cook until most of the liquid is absorbed. Spread on a jelly roll or baking sheet to cool completely.
2. Toss cooled farro with thinly sliced red onions, fresh mint, lemon zest, arugula or other greens (kale, frisee, watercress). Add some fresh squeezed lemon juice and great olive oil to taste.
3. Top with shaved parmesan cheese. Serve.