Between extreme aging, ultrasounds and sea water, the new frontiers of meat
Less meat but of quality. Good, sustainable and that has a lot to tell, with two parties to play the ballot: that of raw and tartare and, on the contrary, the supporters of the timeless grid. Above all, customers follow the long wave (started by the cooks) in wanting to trace differences between maturation and cooking methods, paying attention to the origin, processing methods and peculiarities of the breeds. Other keywords are uniqueness and rarity: the same principles that guide the consumption of the most expensive meat in the world, that raised by Maison Polmard in the meadows and woods of Saint-Mihiel and processed with a unique method: maturation from four to eight weeks and hibernation with blown air at -43 °. For a steak you can also spend 3 thousand euros. Even more so than Kobe’s Wagyu, whose presence instead continues to grow in Italy and, in particular, on the Milanese tables.
The classics resist (Fiorentina in the lead), while the “fifth quarter gourmet” is affirmed and innovative techniques appear, such as ultrasound processing or aging in sea water. Experiences for which people are ready to spend: even more than 100 euros for a boarding of the so-called “noble protein”.
The ultrasound meat
The ultrasounds enter the restaurant and reduce the maturation times of the meat by up to 80%. According to Andrea Viacava, kitchen designer and chef at Armida 1905 in Rapallo, this is a method “that will become a requirement”. A kind of massage is produced for the benefit of softness, favoring the most rapid penetration of heat. There is also a simultaneous reduction of the bacterial load and cooking times are shortened. It is a technique that will also allow the use of more leathery cuts, usually less frequent in the kitchen, such as anterior muscle and calf ». To try it on a full menu costs 70 euros.
Aged in sea water
The name of the Asina Luna restaurant is borrowed from Monti di Mola di De André. In Peschiera Borromeo (a voice shot from Milan), Riccardo Succi has invented his own trendy method, the “sea water maturation”, starting from the first trials of aging in ice and then moving on to the idea of soak the meat in purified sea water. After a few weeks, the meat acquires a flavor given by iodine, magnesium and other salts, inside it develops a ruby red color while on the outside it gains a clear surface. It gives its best consumed in tartare, with a touch of glasswort, or seared with tataki. Other trends 2022? Succi focuses on the loin, with cuts that follow the fibers and double cooking. The research focuses on breeds and maturation, the average cost of a dinner is close to 100 euros.
Not just embers: advanced steak cooking techniques
by Lara De Luna
The fifth quarter
Then there is the paradox of the fifth quarter: the set of poor cuts par excellence, surviving in popular traditions and glue of memory from north to south. The high-speed Rome-Milan, even before commuting the train, travels through the tradition of tripe, with a stop in Florence for the lampredotto, which survives as a street-food that has become a gourmet, with kidneys and sweetbreads now present in the vast majority of preparations contemporary. In the south and in Sicily we remain more anchored to a popular breath that becomes street-food, from the well-known ‘pani ca meuza’ (spleen) but also to ‘u mussu’ (muzzle), to ‘stigguola’ (guts).
The abundance of tradition
Dario Cecchini, from his fort in Panzano in Chianti, takes sides against the overexposure of steaks «which appear everywhere, as in a red light street». Tradition will continue to be in trend: “It will be a summer where I hope carnivores enjoy the animal from nose to tail. What will be the most popular? Grilled and meat menus, with the tasting of as many cuts as possible: hip steak, shoulder steak, Etruscan. And that generosity and abundance win ”. Like those of the “butcher’s menu”: 50 euros, including reinforcements.
Italy vs the rest of the world
In 2022 the market demand consolidates the presence of Italian cattle breeds (Fassona and Chianina in the first place) in restaurants, where, however, European top-of-the-range products are increasingly joined by them, with Spain leading the way. The Rubia Gallega, for example: Galician “old cows” are mostly reared in the province of Lugo, in the Iberian north-west, and slaughtered around 15 years of age and weighing 450-500 kilograms. From Northern Europe, on the other hand, the Finnish fashion of the Sashi bursts, a cut similar to the Fiorentina obtained from the Friesian or Ayrshire breeds. Characteristic is the marbling on the model of the Wagyu.
The wind of the rising sun
The boom in Wagyu is confirmed by Riccardo Uleri, of Longino & Cardenal, a high-end supplier. Only in the last decade has Wagyu meat been able to leave the borders of Japan (first in Macao, in 2012, then in Europe) «and since then the growth has been exponential. If you eat little, the trend is that of a young and gourmet consumption. For the rest, the summer of 2022 will see the confirmation of raw and great Piedmontese tartare: the restaurant is increasingly careful to look for meat from the supply chain and to prefer cattle raised in the wild. And then, of course, the grill. Timeless. From today to October, embers will dominate the gastronomic scenario, even in the gourmet segment ».
The South American touch does not fade and, especially in the Lombard capital, it offers the perspective of infinity with endless tastings, even if it is difficult to try all the 13 cuts proposed. Donazar Beltrame is the patron of Barbacoa in Milan: «Meat fascinates. And the various South American cooking methods are fascinating, for example those of picanha, the codon which in Italy is mostly cooked in boiled meat. Here it is the most requested cut ». The meat is cut and served directly at the table, a cultural journey to discover distant traditions in a cosmopolitan Milan. Accessible: with 70 euros you can also combine a capirinha or good glasses of wine.
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