One of the beautiful things about a salumi plate is that all you have to do is buy an array of anything you want, arrange it nicely and you have a perfect and easy antipasti. And the homemade pickles make an ideal accompaniment to rich salumi; a tangy taste to cut through all that pork fat. They’re so easy to make and are very handy to have lying around. The parmesan custard adds an extra flavour and creamy texture, and is inspired by a recipe by my friend Brent.
- 200 g button mushrooms, wiped clean
- 1 splash olive oil
- river salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 175 ml cider vinegar
- 75 ml water
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp table salt
- 1 red onion
- 2 tsp river salt
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 220 ml milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 150 g grated parmesan
- 4 egg yolks
- 50 ml extra virgin olive oil
- river salt and white pepper
- an array of various salumi, allow 100–150 g per person
- 1 small handful radishes, washed and cut in half
- 1 drizzle olive oil
- cracked black pepper
- 1 loaf fresh bread
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Pickling time 2 days
Construction time 20 minutes
Preheat oven to 200°C. Slice off the bottom tip of the mushroom stalks and cut mushrooms into quarters. Place in a bowl, add a splash of oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and place on a baking tray. Cook in the oven for 5 minutes. Scoop the mushrooms off the tray, leaving behind any juices, and place in a container with the herbs.
Meanwhile, combine vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Have a taste to make sure it is not too strong. Cool the liquor to room temperature and then pour over the mushrooms.
Leave in the fridge for at least 2 days before you use.
Cut the top and bottom off the onion, cut in half lengthways and peel. Using a very sharp knife, slice the onion very finely along the grain. Place in a bowl and, with your hands, massage in the salt and sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for at least 2 hours. They will have collapsed a little and released some liquid. Using your hands, squeeze the onion to get out the last of the juices and place in another bowl. Add the vinegar and oil to the onion and mix to combine. They are ready to use straightaway, but can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.
In a small frying pan over a gentle heat, toast the peppercorns and fennel seeds, gently tossing every now and again until lightly toasted. Give them a rough pound in a mortar and pestle. Place into a pan with the milk and herbs and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and stand for 10 minutes or so to allow the flavours to infuse into the milk.
Strain the milk into a clean saucepan, add the parmesan and place on medium heat. Use a whisk to mix together. Once the parmesan has melted, whisk in the egg yolks, one by one. Cook over a gentle heat, whisking continuously for about 6 minutes until smooth, thickened and silky. Remove from the heat, place in a bowl and cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap to stop a skin forming. Allow to cool.
Place cooled custard in a blender and blend, slowly adding the olive oil. Season. This can be made up to a week ahead.
Arrange salumi artfully into groups on a platter, leaving spaces to pile your pickles and radish. Give everything a light drizzle of olive oil and a few turns of pepper. Serve the parmesan custard on the side. Place a loaf of bread on a board with a knife so your friends can cut at will.
Photography by Benito Martin
Styling by Jerrie-Joy Redman-Lloyd
Stack of plates from The Fortynine Studio