Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Sausage Patties Aeolian Style 1
I mentioned this in comments on Anerio Cincotta's recipes. One of the fondest food memories I have of the islands is the sausage.
That really is not true. The fondest memory is going to Grammie's childhood home, picking lemons from the tree and from the ground and making lemonade all week so that we could harvest the seeds to take home with us. My sister Mary, Mildred and I had a lot of Lemonade that week! It was all for naught though. There was not a single mature seed in any of the lemons. Seeds were not in fact having a good year that year. I remember that Mildred and Sis bought seeds for San Marzano tomatoes and other things in Florence. When they got home, it was the worst year for gardening that I remember...I do not think they got much from the seeds.
Anyway, back to the sausage. John and I were in Salina and desperate since it had been a bit cold to eat outside while everywhere else had been rather warm. It is a maritime climate there, and while it rarely gets truly cold, the damp chill can get to you. I made a nice breakfast for us and we ate it outside on the terrace(I cannot remember the Aeolian word) with the volcano towering above us. Fried eggs, grilled local bread, fresh squeezed OJ from the tree by the back door(mixed with Blood Orange Juice) and these sausages. They were in sausage form, but who takes the time to stuff sausage at home these days. For that matter who likes handling raw pig's intestines?(artificial are available) These were not thick sausages, being somewhere between an Italian sausage of our experience and a breakfast sausage.
Here is a way you can try this at home. These are not exactly bland, but rather plain. Cooking is not quite so spicy and fiery over there as we picture it here with our Italian American cooking.
Also, this is the closest I can come to this recipe based on tasting it with John and with Sis and Mildred.
One pound of unseasoned sausage meat(if you can get it) or ground pork.
Place it in a bowl and fluff it up, separating the ground meat into granules with a fork.
Add salt and pepper in moderate amounts.
Take several medium or large cherry type tomatoes and cut them in half.
Remove all the seeds with your finger and lay the cut halves on a paper towel or drainer to dry for about an hour. You can dry these more by sprinkling the cut sides with salt before draining them but watch out for the salt content from then on. You could also roast them to intensify the flavor as American tomatoes are less flavorful than Italian San Marzano tomatoes. You could also blanch the tomatoes to remove the skins, But I do not think they did this there on the island. Another option would be Sun Dried Tomatoes drained of oil so they are fleshy but not wet.
The tomatoes you find occasionally in the markets that are about the size of a golf ball would be perfect if they are ripe.
Chop the tomatoes into half inch dice and squeeze them to release more moisture.
Place in the bowl with the pork.
Finely chop two cups of fresh Arugula or freshly gathered baby Dandelion leaves. Saute them in a bit of olive oil to wilt and add to the pork.
Fold the ingredients all together to get a nice distribution through the pork.
Form into patties and fry like any sausage.
These sausages were not very fatty but if preferred, you could add extra pork fat or ask for a fattier grind from the butcher.
Additions might be finely ground Bay Leaf or Parmesan cheese. I do not think there was any garlic in these, but they would clearly be good that way, very finely slivered so as not to be found in large chunks in the sausage.
See also the post titled "Sausage"