I can't review James Villas' new book, "Pig: King of the Southern Table." Villas, a Charlotte native turned New Yorker and national food writer, dedicated the book to me, for my reporting on all things pork-related. (But thanks, Jim, I'm very flattered by the recognition.)
However, that doesn't mean I can't share my spare copy. If you love cooking with any part of the pig, Jim is your man. He may live in New York now, but he keeps in close touch with his Carolina roots. On a recent trip back, he fell in love with the whole-hog sausage made by Rayfield Meat Center near Wadesboro. (You don't have to drive that far -- they sell their sausage and several other products on Saturday mornings at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market. Look for them in the open-air building.)
The book has gorgeous pictures by Lucy Schaeffer, and the recipes cover cooking every part of the pig, from bacon and country ham to roasts, chops and tenderloins.
So let's get to the giveaway: To get in the random drawing for the book, post your name as a comment here. If you're anonymous, give me a name I can use to recognize you. And check back here next Wednesday, to find out if you won.
In the meantime, here's a recipe from the book for an appetizer made with one of my favorite things, country ham. He calls for Kentucky country ham, but we all know North Carolina has some pretty fine cured ham, too.
Kentucky Potted Country Ham
From "Pig: King of the Southern Table," by James Villas (Wiley, 2010).
1 1/2 cups cooked, chopped country ham
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons bourbon
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Grind the ham finely in a blender or food processor. Add the butter and grind until well-blended. Add the remaining ingredients and grind almost to a paste.
Scrape the mixture into a crock, cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Allow the spread to return to room temperature about 1 hour before serving with tiny biscuit halves or crackers. (Be warned that if it's not brought back to room temperature before serving, it's almost impossible to spread.)