The "Taste of All" charcuterie board at Paley's Place does not mess around: The plate, which can feature anywhere between eight to 12 different meat preps, can even be coursed out if the diner wants to make a meal of it, says chef/restaurant owner Vitaly Paley. Paley, whose namesake NW restaurant is approaching its second decade in business, remembers a time when he'd make pâtés and terrines, and it was the folks in the kitchen — not the guests — who would end up eating all of it.
But a shift in dining preferences and Paley's sourcing practices changed the restaurant's charcuterie game: "Eventually, with Olympic Provisions and a few other folks that started making a headway in Portland, and then we started bringing in whole animals, it started to make sense that all the little bits and pieces left over would make their way somewhere [on the menu]," Paley says. "We literally started making it and overnight it became a success... it just took off like crazy."
While the early charcuterie prep was conducted by Paley and current executive chef Patrick McKee, Paley admits that "we were making it on the periphery of our daily chores." These days, Stan Luoma heads up the charcuterie and sausage program for both Paley's and its sister downtown restaurant Imperial (its house charcuterie board, "Stan's Meat Plate," is named for him). Here now, a quick look at the two-plate-spanning charcuterie plate, offering a bit of everything: from the classics (duck galantine, pâté en croute) to the playful (bacon-stuffed kielbasa) to a whole lot of foie gras.
As Paley and McKee work together seamlessly to compile the boards, Paley points out that both plates of charcuterie focus more on cooked meat preparations as opposed to cured and dried sausages and salamis. "We decided that all the cooked stuff is not only tasty, it revives a lot of the traditions," Paley says. Preparations borrow from France, Italy, Ukraine, the Southern United States, and whatever classification bologna falls under — "white trash, but lifted," he laughs.
1. Bacon-stuffed kielbasa: Luoma specially made the kielbasa for the inaugural installment of Paley's side-project pop-up DaNet, which nods to Paley's Russian roots.
2. Beef tongue pastrami: The beef tongue pastrami gets a five-day brine before spicing and smoking; it comes dressed in a horseradish cream.
3. Coppa salami: The pork shoulder salami is drizzled (along with the rest of the plates) with Durant olive oil from Dayton, Oregon to allow the different fats to play off each other. As McKee says: "Fat is the train ride to flavor."
4. Pork terrine: Traditionally, there are two main styles of terrine. To make a "picked meat" terrine, the meat is cooked on the bone, and the butcher picks it off and shapes it back together with an aspic (head cheese terrines are most commonly made in this way); a "forcemeat" terrine grinds the meat and essentially emulsifies it back together (as in the preparation of mortadella). Paley's pork and foie gras terrine is the latter preparation, and uses foie gras as an additional fat (and flavor) component.
5. Accompaniments: Fruit mustard, mushroom pickles.
Although Paley says there's no particular rhyme or reason to the order of plating — "It's kind of one of those sushi zen things, you've gotta put it down the way it fits in that moment" — the second plate accidentally features many of Paley's classic French preparations. "The funny part about the authentic French-made charcuterie," he says, "It's very detail-oriented. So you need a guy like Stan to obsess over all these details. You can't cut corners."
1. Duck galantine: A French-style galantine featuring duck meat, a little bit of pork, and cherries.
2. Duck bologna: This elevated take on sliced bologna features duck meat, pistachios, and more foie gras: "There's foie gras in all kinds of stuff," says McKee.
3. Pork rillette: Rillettes traditionally feature confit'ed meat cooked in its own (or other fat) then cooled. Paley's brightens up its rillette with green garlic, shaving the meat and delicately rolling it into cylinders for plating.
4. Chicken liver pâté: The two slabs of chicken liver pâté are flavored with garlic, brandy, and an inordinate amount of butter, McKee says: About two pounds of butter are used to create each terrine.
5. Rabbit pâté en croute: The Paley's team makes its classic pate en croute (literally, pate in crust) with rabbit forcemeat, carrots, and foie gras. It's a two-to-three day process that involves dough making, inlaying a marinated rabbit loin (the pate's "internal garnish," says McKee), surrounding it with rabbit meat, and baking the entire concoction. The dish cools overnight before a hole is carefully punctured in the top to insert the pâté's layer of aspic: The aspic, made from the rabbit's cooking liquid, is poured in to rehydrate the meat and strengthen the shell structure.
6. Rabbit andouille sausage: Some Southern influences come into play with the smoked rabbit andouille, which features smoke and spice (cayenne and garlic) as its predominant flavors.
7. Fruit mustard: A dollop of berry mostarda completes the dish.