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Jul 5, 2006 06:18 AM

Mortadella from Fatted Calf

This year's Fourth of July celebration was one to remember for two reasons:

1) We were in the home of the "enemy", an English family.

2) They grilled mortadella from Fatted Calf.

The mortadella was sliced into less than 1/4" thick and heated over a charcoal fire. Each little slice was topped with a few drops of high grade balsamic vinegar. Hot and slightly charred mortadella is a wonderful thing, slick with pork richness, crunchy pistachios, and deeper flavor highlighted by the condiment.

This family knows their charcuterie. I also had a chance to try the French-style sausages that they make themselves every New Year's seasoned with spices and salt alone, no nitrates. The lady of the house described her shopping trips to the Chinese butchers in the Mission to buy pork shoulder and fatback. We washed these down with 2001 Martinelli Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc, which was as fresh as can be, 1997 Castello di Verduno Langhe di Nebbiolo that had descended into the beef tea stage, and a variety of microbrews.

The dessert table was all-American with homemade peach pie, banana cream pie, and macerated strawberries.

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  1. What were the "French-style sausages" like? Did you catch the name of the style/type of sausage? Everything sounds delicious! I'm going to pick up some Mortadella tomorrow and try it on the grill.

    Happy 4th!

    1. No more specifics on the type of sausage, I'm afraid. Susan did say they had a little wine in them and she showed me her two sausage-making books. One was by Anthony and Araminta Hippisley Coxe (who could forget that name!) and I don't recall the other.

      I watched our host put a couple slices of the mortadella on the grill for me. When it seemed warm, I asked if it was ready. He shook his head and said that it needed to get hot all the way through and put the cover on the grill. Fatted Calf's has some texture to the meat and the pork gets a loose, creamy and soft texture when it's hot.

      1. Interesting. The mortadella is one of my favorite FC products but it never occured to me to try grilling it. I know what I'll be doing next weekend. Did you get a chance to try the uncooked mortadella for comparison?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Morton the Mousse

          Took me by surprise too! Let me preface this by saying that I was not keen on going anywhere yesterday. When my friend called to ask me to join him at this celebration, I kept saying "no". Then he pulled out his trump card telling me, "they made the sausages," which overcame all previous objections.

          When I got there, our host said that he'd saved me the last two pieces of mortadella and that he'd grill them for me. I had visions of childhood fried bologna, frankly. But I followed him over to the grill, and when I spied the small diameter pieces studded with a lot of pistachios, the handmade look and uneven texture, I braved asking him the source. The words, "Fatted Calf" were music to my ears. We were eating on paper plates in the backyard, but these two slices were presented to me on a small white porcelain plate with considerable flourish - "Mortadella a griglia." This was the first time I've had the product, so I can't compare it to uncooked. Thought it might have been a serving suggestion from FC.

        2. Ah ha! So that is why I couldn't get any mortadella at FC last Saturday. I had some a couple of weeks ago and returned only to be disappointed when they ran out. I tried their pork rillettes but didn't care for it too much....underspiced and the wrong texture....much too creamy.

          1 Reply
          1. re: friscofrog

            With the rillettes, heat them briefly on top of the stove (if you have a flameproof dish) or in the toaster oven. The spicing is milder to be served warmer than room temperature and not cooler. Just enough to soften the fat and pop out the flavors, and you'll thank me! Course, the last time I had them, I thought the texture was coarser than what's available around here.


          2. Fried mortadella? Are you sure you weren't in the company of Newfies?

            1 Reply