Seasonal Pantry: Cooking lightly with chorizo
Franco Dunn’s sausages are like no others I’ve ever found anywhere. There is a tenderness, a delicacy to them that I couldn’t account for until recently. It turns out they are stuffed into their casings by hand, not by machine.
Types are rotated so you cannot simply pick up your favorite week after week. This frustrates a lot of customers — we are, at heart, creatures of habit — but for the adventurous, it’s a thrill to see what he comes up with each week.
Dunn calls himself a sausage anthropologist. He communicates online, frequently while playing Internet scrabble, with people all over the world, searching for indigenous sausages. He’s reproduced classic recipes from the island of Malta, from Morocco, Thailand, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and many regions of Spain, France and Italy and more. Sometimes a sausage appears once in a season and doesn’t show up again for a year or more.
In the summer I typically limit myself to chorizo, as he makes a number of styles, all of which I find utterly irresistible. In the winter, I enjoy his cotechino, which he makes only in the cooler months.
Dunn’s most recent batches of chorizo have been Mexican, one red, one a profoundly delicious chorizo verde. One World Sausage is available only at farmers markets and by special order. Currently, you’ll find them weekly at the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market on both Wednesday and Saturday; at the Healdsburg Farmers Market on Saturday and at the Cloverdale Farmers Market on Tuesday evenings. They are also available at the Windsor Farmers Market and the Sebastopol Farmers Market on alternating Sundays, first and third in Windsor, second and fourth in Sebastopol.
Think of this mixture of spicy, tangy pork, tender potatoes and zucchini with just a bit of crunch as a versatile filling or topping, not unlike picadillo or larb (see “Eat This Now” at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com). It can be made with other types of fresh, i.e., uncured, chorizo but I think this particular dish is best with chorizo verde.
Chorizo Verde, Potato & Zucchini
Makes about 6 to 8 servings
2 tablespoons local lard
1 pound small new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into small dice
1 pound bulk One World Sausage bulk chorizo verde
1 medium or 3 small zucchini, cut into small dice
—Juice of 1 lemon or lime
—Black pepper in a mill
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Put the lard into a heavy skillet set over medium-low heat and, when it is melted, add the potatoes and cook, turning now and then, until almost but not quite tender, about 10 minutes. Push the potatoes to one side or transfer them to a bowl, add the chorizo, increase the heat to medium-high and cook, crumbling the meat with a fork all the while, until it loses its raw look. Use a fork to gently combine the potatoes and chorizo, add the zucchini and season with salt.
Continue to cook gently turning everything, until the zucchini are just barely tender. Add the citrus juice, cover the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Uncover, taste, correct for salt and acid and season with several turns of black pepper. Remove from the heat and fold in the cilantro. Serve right away, using one of the suggestions below, or cool and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Reheat as needed.