Day One • 12 Tastes of Brooklyn
CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS BY THE FIRE, SECRET GIFT GIVING IN THE NIGHT, candy canes, giving to those in greatest need—these are all customs that can be traced to dear St Nick. So what better day than St. Nicholas Day to begin planning Christmas dinner? We have our eye on a traditional ham for our table this year. We knew we could find an excellent hickory-smoked one ($3.69/lb for a 10- or 20-lb ham) at Eagle Provisions, a Polish market in Sunset Park that’s been around since 1935 and is now run by the Zawisny family.
But this year our heads have been turned by Brooklyn Cured’s Smoked Mangalitsa Ham. You may know Brooklyn Cured’s sausages and paté from various markets, restaurants and small grocers around town. Founder Scott Bridi grew up in an Italian-American family in Bensonhurst. He ran the charcuterie program at Gramercy Tavern for two years before going on to Marlow and Daughters butcher shop and then starting his own company. His boneless smoked ham starts out as a Mangalitsa pig, a rare woolly Hungarian breed that almost disappeared and is much prized by chefs. The ones Bridi uses are raised on Mosefund Farm in Branchville, NJ. “They have an unparalleled richness and red-meat qualities that are beyond crave-worthy!” he says. Bridi cures the ham for a full week in brown sugar and bourbon. Then it’s gently smoked with applewood, while being coated with a maple-bourbon glaze. (To reheat, take ham out of refrigerator for half an hour, then put in a 275º oven for 30 to 40 minutes.)
Hungry yet? The Mangalitsa hams are $14/lb; sizes range from 3 to 7 pounds. To order, stop by the markets Brooklyn Cured is at, or e-mail email@example.com. (Be sure to include your name, contact information, size of ham, and the market where you’d like to pick up).
The order deadline for Christmas is Dec. 16. Pickup is on Sundays at the Park Slope Community Market on 5th Ave and 4th Street from 10 am to 4 pm and New Amsterdam Market from 11 am to 4 pm. Give as much notice as you can; a week is preferable, although it is possible if you order on a Wednesday, there will be a ham ready for Sunday pick up.
There even may be a few mighty Mangalitsas available on a first-come, first-serve basis on Dec. 23 at Park Slope and New Amsterdam Markets, but really, would you want to risk it?
628 5th Avenue, Sunset Park
Photograph (right) by Basia Hellwig. Date stamp typographic design by Joy Makon Design. The font is Avant Garde, by Herb Lubalin and Tom Carnese, ITC, 1970.