by Melissa Pellegrino and Samantha Seneviratne
A Cajun specialty, tasso is a highly spiced and smoked piece of pork shoulder that’s mainly used as a seasoning or accent flavor in soups and bean, egg, pasta, and vegetable dishes. If you buy some to make the Grilled Corn with Tasso Butter, store any leftover tasso tightly wrapped in the refrigerator and try to use it up within a week. Here are a few ideas:
Tasso croquettes Make a thick béchamel sauce and chill completely. Stir in minced tasso and season to taste with salt and pepper. Roll into walnut-size balls, coat in breadcrumbs, and fry in hot oil until golden brown all over. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.
Little necks in tasso broth Sauté sliced yellow onions in olive oil with some medium-diced tasso. Add little neck clams and dry white wine, cover, and cook until the clams open. Season with salt and pepper, and serve in shallow bowls with fresh, crusty bread.
Sautéed beet greens Cook sliced garlic and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes in olive oil until light brown. Add finely diced tasso and beet greens and cook until the greens are wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
Cold bean salad Mix cooked cannellini beans, finely diced tasso, baby arugula, and a lemon-basil vinaigrette.
Grilled potato packets Toss par-boiled baby potatoes with olive oil, finely diced tasso, salt, pepper, and thyme leaves. Place in the center of sheets of heavy duty foil and fold to make packets. Grill over a medium-hot fire until the potatoes are tender.
Barley, corn, and tasso salad Stir together cooked barley, steamed corn kernels, finely diced tasso, and chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley. Stir in cider vinegar and olive oil and season with salt and pepper.