Tuesday, November 14, 2006

To Lose to Toulouse

After reading Sam's post about Toulouse sausages recently, I immediately had to attempt a reasonable facsimile of her recipe. I altered my version a bit (who doesn't?) and I didn't use a key ingredient of hers: Fatted Calf sausage.
My local independent grocery store has an in-house butcher, and they make their own sausages, including a garlicky "French." Close enough.
It was truly delicious. I was thrilled, and chauvinistically pleased that I might not always have to make the early-morning trek to the Fellini-esque Ferry Plaza Farmers Market to get the FC version.
But for whatever reason, this past Saturday Cranky jumped up out of bed at 6 a.m. and left me sleeping, while he flew over the bridge to visit the fine folks at Fatted Calf. He got there a little too early, but dropped a valuable code name (rhymes with "jiggles"), and was told to return in a few minutes to pick up his booty.
Among his loot were a few links of the vaunted Toulouse sausages, fresh and fragrant.
So. For scientific and gastronomic purposes, Cranky decided to drop by our local market to get a couple of their French sausages.
Oh dear. They were frozen. The nice guy at the meat counter cracked a couple against a hard surface to separate them, and off he went.
OK. We fried them up last night. Oh, but wait; first the smell test: Whoops. The frozen ones smelled a little refrigeratory. The FC ones smelled beautiful. Both had comparable garlic components.
Then, once cooked: Uh-oh. I am so sorry to report. My local bodega flunked. Their sausages tasted of dead meat. I hate to gross you out with that language, but that is exactly why I have never been a huge fan of consuming vast quantities of meat. It smells and tastes dead.
The Fatted Calf sausage tasted — well, it would be creepy to say "alive" — it tasted "animal-y." Yeah, that's it.
Most meat most Americans have ever consumed probably tastes dead, and they don't really know it; they don't have any point of reference.
I should say that my local butcher might have a better product before it gets frozen; in fact, the first ones we ate tasted good and they were fresh. But I don't think they'd stack up to Fatted Calf.
Well, damn. So now I'm ruined.
That's OK. Cranky would be more than happy to make that early-morning run again while I snooze.


Greg said...

The Berkeley Farmers market is one of the best of the bay.Ditto the Fatted Calf.

Sam said...

early morning? Berkeley doesn't open til 10 am. I am usually back home from the SF market by then!

I am so, so delighted the fatted calf won the taste test. I am looking forward to my own half a toulouse for supper tonight.


cookiecrumb said...

No, Sam, early in SF. Ferry Plaza. The "other" bridge. He thought it opened at 7.
(Bon appetit.)

Greg, if I had a kid at Cal, I'd probably be at the Berkeley market more often.

Sam said...

ah - i see
what a husband and a half!

kudzu said...

Okay, so this weekend can I give Cranky a shopping list for meself? He could make a fortune being the courier. Lucky you. Snooze and sausages on the same day.

Abby said...

If I send Brad to the store I get nothing that I wanted and everything I didn't. Ha.

I know what you mean by tasting "dead". When I read that I got a little stomach-churny from bad memories.

Dagny said...

I really should get off of my lazy butt and walk over to the Thursday Berkeley market this week. Gotta love that they're open til 7 pm.

As for the meat, my mom swears the meat in Mexico tastes so much better than the stuff we get here. She says it just seems much fresher.

Kevin said...

What's in the Toulouse sausages? My next charcuterie effort is going to be bacon (I've order a pork belly from a local farm), but I need to make sausages again.

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: I can see that. Sorta like having a paper route. (I wonder if we could convince FC to return to the Marin market; they abandoned it for lack of customers.)

Abby: Yeah, you send him out for bread and he returns with a sack of nails and a PS3.

Dagny: I bet your mom is right. Even in Southern California, the Latino markets often carry superior chicken, for instance. I have a Latino market in my nabe; I'm going to try it out.

Kevin: I don't know their recipe, but it's traditionally pork (and lots of nice fat), wine and garlic, with maybe smoked bacon in there too. (If there was bacon in mine, I missed it, but I have one in the fridge to taste again.) So, make your bacon and use some in sausage! Brill.
Wish we had a local pig farm here, but I should do some investigating.

drbiggles said...

Wahoo! At least I'm good fer somethin'. I don't remember either what's in the Toulouse. I know the grind has changed over the years, it used to be a finer grind. It is a mild one that's for sure and no bacon. I know there are some traditional French herbs in there. But since I don't do much French cooking, I can't remember what they were. Ah well, eat and be blissful.

I never did make it to the hardware store. Some day ...

cookiecrumb said...

Biggles, you rock and rule. Cranky was so jazzed using the "password."
Thank you for confirming that there's no bacon. Whew, my taste buds still work. Also, I didn't make it to the hardware store yet either, but I'm thinking tomorrow. Since I don't have a JOB to go to, an' stuff.
Also: I can't leave comments on Meathenge. I think you still like me, so you're probably not scrubbing my remarks. But it's not working. Jes' so you know.

Kevin said...

Ruhlman's book has a recipe for a "French Sausage" that's pretty much what you describe, so I'll start with it.

My local supplier has chicken, turkey, beef, and pork. All free-range and grass-fed (where appropriate). He was going to start raising rabbits, but couldn't find a processor for them, so that's on hold for now.

cookiecrumb said...

Kevin: Neat-O! Wouldn't that be cool, to have a rabbit purveyor? I've heard we're thisclose to getting locally raised goat meat in Marin. Good luck with the sausages; it'll be fun.