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Italian sausage


Adam Balic
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Last night I made a pasta sauce with some Italian sausages bought in Prato (just out of Florence). These were plain sausage 100% pork meat, no obvious flavouring (eg. No fennel seed, garlic, wine etc) except for salt and pepper. No the thing is they taste fantastic, with a very rich pork flavour and great mouth feel.

Why is this? Now it could be the ingredients, but many countries produce great pork (Not Australia sadly), so it must be something else. These sausage most certainly contain saltpetre (or a similar agent) as the meat turns bright pink upon cooking and has a slightly firm granular texture that you get when using saltpetre. But again many fresh European sausage contains saltpetre.

Could it be the fat content and the way that it is distributed through the meat, so that upon cooking the meat is based, by the melting fat, but the fat drains away form the sausage? Certainly the sausages are contain much fat and taste very rich, but on eating the item there is never the impression of greasiness that you can get with eating a British style sausage that contains a significant amount of ceral content.

What's it all about then?

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I'd agree with the pinkness - have had ones from the local deli and they're redder inside as if salted/hammed (but don't necessarily taste saltier

vs British bangers the texture is also coarser and I would also agree they seem fattier

Made some great pecan-breadcrumb stuffing with Italian sausage over crimbo

cheerio

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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Adam, I'm afraid that before I can give proper attention to your question I'm going to need a sample of these Italian sausages. For scientific reasons, you understand.

Well in that case you will either have to go to Italy or visit somebody who brought some back from Italy, under the mistaken notion that it was OK to do so.

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Adam, are the ones that you brought back notably better than/different from those available in good Italian delis here?

(Oddly, I was planning on making a sausage sauce tonight before I read your post. I wish I'd remembered that a couple of hours ago, when I ordered sausages for breakfast.)

Edited by Kikujiro (log)
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Adam, are the ones that you brought back notably better than/different from those available in good Italian delis here?

(Oddly, I was planning on making a sausage sauce tonight before I read your post. I wish I'd remembered that a couple of hours ago, when I ordered sausages for breakfast.)

In Edinburgh there is one good Italian Deli, but they don't sell sausages. The is one excellent sausage shop and they sell Italian style sausage, but the cut of the meat is coarser, there is less fat in them (they tend to dry out) and they use no saltpetre, so they are not as good as the sausage in Italy.

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I have to say that the person I was travelling with in Italy two weeks ago and I decided that the Italian processed pork products, from salumi to sausages, are far and away the best in the world. Much better then what they make in that other country that starts with an F. Though they do excel in the dried sausage category there. But for freshly sliced, raw or cooked, you can't beat the Italians.

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Italians are exceptionally demanding consumers when it comes to food products especially something as important to them as pork. This demand puts great pressure on the producers to offer high quality affettati and sausages. There is also the tradition of buying local products so the pressure is put on by your neighbors.

Then of course there would be all the things the butcher in each region can tell you about – the type of pigs, what their fed, the weather. Each will have a million reasons why theirs is the best.

There is a difference in texture between what I can buy at the Il Gigante (the local huge supermarket) and the butcher shop. The sausages at the butcher shop have more of a texture (not course) while the ones at the supermarket have a smoother texture in the mouth. They are all better than anything I have found in the United States.

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Yes I have eaten sausage made from the black and white Siena breed of pig and also those made from more commercial breeds. Both good.

I have noticed that the pork in much of Chianti is much more red in colour then what I would seen in Australia or the UK. About the colour of year old beef. Pigs may be matured to a longer age in Italy, then in Australia and the UK.

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without having tasted your sausage - alas - i would guess it's a "slow food" thing: the pigs have probably lived in the woods and fields chewing on acorns and nuts and truffles and all the other things pigs love, slowly growing to the right size. also, probably someone scratched their backs while their throats were cut.

christianh@geol.ku.dk. just in case.

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I have to say that the person I was travelling with in Italy two weeks ago and I decided that the Italian processed pork products, from salumi to sausages, are far and away the best in the world. Much better then what they make in that other country that starts with an F. Though they do excel in the dried sausage category there. But for freshly sliced, raw or cooked, you can't beat the Italians.

I would generally agree, although qualifying that with the fact there is nothing like a good chorizo

j

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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without having tasted your sausage - alas - i would guess it's a "slow food" thing: the pigs have probably lived in the woods and fields chewing on acorns and nuts and truffles and all the other things pigs love, slowly growing to the right size. also, probably someone scratched their backs while their throats were cut.

I have just been reading the rules and regulations for production of Prociutto San Danielle and Prociutto de Moderna. Both have large amounts of detail specific to all parts of ham production.

This is a quote from the San Danielle information:

" this development, involving the rearing of heavy pigs which are slaughtered at an advanced age, has determined the characteristics of the raw material and its production for a specific purpose"

i.e. they care about the age of the pigs, as this determines the character of the meat they use in ham production.

I wonder if the a similar amount of care goes into rearing pigs for sausage production?

Oaklet - no free ranging pigs in Tuscany, they interbreed with the wild boar is not locked up.

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  • 4 years later...

After looking for Italian sausage (of the American variety -lots of fennel) for over an hour, I finally founds some Salciccia at an organic butchershop. I tried googling but most of the links were in Italian.

Is Salciccia similar to Italian sausage? What does a Salciccia sausage comprise of anyway?

Thanks.

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Y: "Salciccia" is simply the word "sausage" in Italian and it applies to all types, though I can't say I've ever had sausage made of any meat other than pork/boar. Fennel is found not only in Italian-American sausage, but in certain regions in Italy as are red chili flakes and garlic. You'll also find sausages that are simply seasoned so that nothing interferes w the flavors of the pork and its fat. It all depends on local traditions and the formulae preferred by the butcher.

Where are you?

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Here in Piemonte we LOVE salciccia. In Piemontese they pronounce it sal-chi-cha (in my surrounding villages). I am told it means salted fat. Here you can get it flavored with fennel and other spices but most people buy the plain version. I suppose all butchers have their own secret additives. Better quality salciccia has less fat in it.

In Villa San Secondo there is a butcher named Gilberto that makes the stuff fresh every day and you can even eat his salciccia raw. I have many times and it is wonderful...strange at first, but once you get used to it it's great. I would not recommend doing that unless you know for sure that the butcher has a reputation for making salciccia to be eaten raw. Certainly do not eat grocery store salciccia raw!

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Very common to marinate the meat in wine.

Salt and black pepper are the minimum seasoning.

Fennel and chilli are also often used.

Salsiccia and Cervellatina (in a lamb casing) are the two types of italian sausage that are then filled as "Punta di coltello" (chopped meat) or "macinata (mince).

Ciao

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  • 3 weeks later...
Here in Piemonte we LOVE salciccia. In Piemontese they pronounce it sal-chi-cha (in my surrounding villages).

My Italian friend immigrated to Canada in the '40s when he was 15 or so. He taught me how to make salcicca. He preferred them air-dried, but I like 'em fresh. He showed me one variation where you grind up pig skin and include it when mixing the meat with seasonings, afterwhich it is stuffed into hog casings. Excuse my spelling, but I think he called it Cotechino? Is this a popular sausage in your area as well?

He also showed me other variations including a liver mix and even a lung mix. Again, are these popular in your region?

On another note, I knew a South American woman who always liked to say salcicca (she pronounced it "sal CHI cha" as well, the Spanich pronounciation). I'm not sure she meant the same thing...

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Great topic -

A truly special sausage is made in Piemonte. It is made of all BEEF and like mentioned above, it can and preferably is eaten raw.

I recall some kind of Slow Food importance to this specific type of sausage.

SWISS CHEF - I didn't know you moved to Italy. I hope you are having an amazing time there!

When you break down the word to Sal-Chi-Cha - yes, sal for salt and "chicha" for pieces of meat. The "chicha" or 'cicia' has soo many meaning thrown around it. Some say it could refer to a well fed stomach (of say a gourmand) - I do believe it is slang though.

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As I mentioned, my friend (who has sadly passed away a few months ago...before I could learn his many old world techniques) enjoyed his Italian sausage air dried. It is not cooked, but rather hung from a stick in his cool basement room.

The salt content (which is carefully measured per kilo of meat) cures the meat.

He never used nitrates, but salt alone...he never used sulfites in his wine either - real old school.

After it dried to his liking, which was still chewy, he'd vacuum pack it and place them in the fridge until he ate them all.

I miss the old guy...

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