Having spent the last 20 years living in Oregon, Tara Protiva-Brown and Brandon Brown were accustomed to the bounty of fresh food available in the Pacific Northwest and the many restaurants that supported local foods and farmers. “After moving here, we saw a void waiting to be filled in that respect,” Tara says. With a combined 46 years of experience in the food industry, the Browns were ready to open a place of their own. It wasn’t long before the couple had found the perfect location in Little Rock’s historic Hillcrest neighborhood, and in November of 2010 Hillcrest Artisan Meats (H.A.M.) opened its doors.
The small but popular shop features a wide variety of fresh meats and Arkansas-produced foods. “Our meats are always raised naturally without the use of hormones or antibiotics,” Tara says. “For many, food is an intimate affair and shopping in stores with plastic-wrapped and stickered meat is abnormal. We want people to know where their food comes from.”
H.A.M.’s Duck Ham sandwich is well known for its simplicity, flavor and locally sourced ingredients. Naturally raised duck breast from Falling Sky Farm in Marshall, arugula from Arkansas Natural Produce in Malvern and fresh bread from Boulevard Bread Company come together in this mouthwatering creation, which also happens to be a shop favorite.
H.A.M.’s Duck Ham Sandwich
1 yellow onion, sliced thin
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 organic egg yolks
1 teaspoon freshly chopped garlic
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
To make the balsamic onions, combine onion slices, balsamic vinegar and two tablespoons olive oil in a covered container and marinate a minimum of one hour, preferably overnight.
To make the aioli, combine egg yolks and garlic in a food processor. Very slowly, add olive oil until it is fully incorporated, then add red wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Thin with a small amount of water if the aioli is too thick.
Spread desired amount of aioli onto a fresh hoagie, then layer duck ham, arugula and balsamic onions as desired.
*Duck ham is available for purchase at Hillcrest Artisan Meats.
Hillcrest Artisan Meats, Little Rock, (501) 671-6328