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Italian Sausage Help!

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Hi everyone, this is my first post on CHOW.

I recently spent 3 weeks in Europe for my honeymoon, 2 of which were spent in Italy. The greatest week we spent there, was in Florence. While there, my wife and I ate at a very eclectic enoteca. The restaurant served us the simplest yet tastiest crostini I think I've ever had. The crostini had only a ground sausage mixture and cheese on it. The sausage is NOTHING like any other sausage I have had before. I, myself, am a Chef and have been trying to recreate this dish. I cannot seem to figure out what is in the mix! So I am resorting to CHOW to see if anyone could help me figure out a recipe.

I have attached a picture, for fellow culinarians who may be able to help me out. The color is pinkish, similar to a cured sausage, and the texture was VERY light. The taste had a pretty distinct tang or tartness to it, which made me think it was cured a little??? I have, however, tried using a little red wine vinegar in my sausage mix. I still can't seem to get it right!

The ground pork where I am from (North Carolina) is usually really fatty and sometimes contains a lot of gristle. The sausage from Florence did not have those qualities.

Anyways, if anyone has any suggestions I would really like to hear them. Thanks for reading my first post!!!!

 
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  1. No suggestion, but I'm following this post because that sounds delish.

    1. Maybe start by looking up recipes for "salsiccia cruda"

      1 Reply
      1. re: caganer

        I think you pegged it. I see that on this site, http://www.rusticocooking.com/curedme...
        That it may be made from veal in stead of pork. That sounds pretty awesome too.

      2. I like to joke that most sausage is made from lips, ears, and ass. I might be exaggerating, but the guidelines on commercial sausage making are pretty lax.

        If you want a light texture and a distinct taste, I'm thinking you'll have to grind your own meat (after removing any veins, blood, gristle, tendon, silverskin) then season yourself.

        The pinkish color would indeed indicate a curing. This can be done with regular salt (slower, lighter cure) or with sodium nitrite (faster, more intense cure).

        The picture seems to show "bulk" sausage rather than in casings. This would be simple to make. To get the same flavor profile would be the trickiest part.

        I make sausage all the time, lemmee know if you want more info.

        Welcome to CH!

        4 Replies
        1. re: porker

          Hey thanks for the input. I plan on making it from scratch for sure. Last time I made any sausage was like 10 years ago in culinary school! I think I'm going to trim some pork butts, and try passing it through a grinder a few times. Can't seem to find pig lips ANYWHERE (go figure:) I was thinking the same thing about the curing, but what threw me was that it was sort of spread on the bread.

          1. re: wbhudson

            Mallorcan sobrassada is sort of similar. It's made with salt and spices, stuffed in casing and hung for a couple weeks or more (the recipe I just looked at called for 15 days for a regular pork casing or more for larger diameters)
            They scoop it out of the casing and smear it on bread. It's got the tangy flavor you describe. (the texture, however is almost pasty - I'm neither a sausage maker nor a meat curer so I don't known what effect that has on curing)
            There's lots of info online about making sobrassada (also spelled sobrasada). That might point you in a good direction

            1. re: wbhudson

              The lightness you describe could be an abundance of collagen, in which case pig ears - available in many ethnic and conventional supermarkets - added to the pork when grinding would get you closer to the desired texture.

              Another possibility is that they made a mousseline as part of the sausage.

              1. re: greygarious

                Which reminds me - it may similarly have been braised cotechino, pork skin sausage, which can have a velvety mouth feel.

          2. if you include the name of the restaurant, somebody else may have been there and can offer you more help.

            1 Reply
            1. re: hotoynoodle

              The restaurant was called Bevo Vino. Awesome place, here's a pic of it...

               
            2. Looks like nduja to me.

              1. Could it have been wild boar and not regular pork - best sausage I have ever had in my life was wild boar sausage in Siena - brought my taste buds back to a family friends farm from childhood where they raised their own hogs - that was the only comparable thing I have ever tasted.

                edit re reading your post It is not probably boar - but the boar sausage is good - we also had similar crostini with "spleen" that nobody but me would eat OMG one of the best things ever - the meats in Tuscany are just too good.

                1. If it was spicy, then it's likely nduja, a Calabrian form of salami.

                  Another option, is a salami that was cured for only a few days instead of the several weeks it can take to cure and dry. It begins the curing process, but because it doesn't desiccate, it remains spreadable.

                  1. Have you thought of asking *them* what it was exactly?

                    via S. Niccolò 59r
                    Firenze - Centro Storico - centro
                    Tel 0552001709
                    E-mail bevovino@katamail.com

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: porker

                      Yeah I sure have. I emailed back in December. I've been trying to get the Chef to email me back. Until i do I'm going to try doing some quick curing and playing around with spices. I was able to translate some Italian foodie sites, once I looked up Cruda.