Think of lonza as a little sister to the famed prosciutto. Depending on where you are standing, you may hear lonza called lomo, lomba or basturma. Lonza is a salumi that is made by dry curing boneless pork loins. That's the muscle running across the pig's back which also gives us pork chops. Some mistakenly refer to it as lonzina as well, but we believe lonzina is cured pork tenderloin (also called filetto).
To make great lonza you must first source great pork. Depending on the time of year, we like to use either pasture raised Berkshire pork or Hereford pork. Both are found right here in Central Florida by farmers who have been gracious enough to allow us onto their farms to see how they raise their animals. Since there are so few ingredients in our lonza, we go through great measure to make sure that we source the best. A pig that is raised in the Florida sunshine and allowed to roam about foraging acorns under live oaks is going to be a very different beast than one raised in confinement and fed GMO corn and soy.
Once we've neatly trimmed up our pork loins we start their journey by curing them in Celtic Sea Salt under refrigeration for two weeks. Then we rinse them off, rub them with dry white wine, and roll them in fennel seeds and datil chili pepper. At this point, we weigh them and record the weight on their birth certificate. They will lose a considerable amount of weight in the dry cure locker and we want to be able to monitor that weight loss. We have a target weight loss of 30% which usually takes about two months. When the fat cap on the pork loin is large it may take a bit longer. Sometimes the Berkshires that we get have big fat caps, but that's where the flavor is so we like it that way.
The lonza are tied up and hung to dry at 70% humidity and 55F (13C). We keep a spray bottle of dry white wine handy and give them an occasional mist when Frank Sinatra or Louis Prima happen to shuffle into the play list.
Once the lonza have reached target weight loss we remove them from the dry cure locker and vacuum seal them with a chamber sealer. Once sealed, the moisture in the lonza will evenly distribute throughout the meat. This helps to eliminate dry edges and gives a more uniform texture.
There are many different ways to use lonza. Because of its uniform size, it is much easier to handle than its big brother, prosciutto. It is best sliced paper thin. We like it all by itself on a charcuterie board, but it could also be used in pastas, pizzas, sandwiches, salads, or you could just drape it over your face for some aromatherapy.
Our lonza has a floral smell from the fennel seeds and a bit of heat from the datil chili. The sea salt is clean and doesn't have any off-putting chemical flavors that can be present in cheap salt. We make sure that our spices don't overpower the nuances of great pork. The pig is the star of the show here.