One of the things I can’t wait to get back to when I get to Italy is the sausage, salsicce. Ground up pig parts can’t possibly taste better than they do seasoned and stuffed inside an intestine and cooked over a hardwood fire.
In Tuscany, the food is simple. The sausage guys you see at the market fight over the recipe, which is pig, salt and pepper. The part they fight over is pepper. No si usa pepe! a big sign says, “we don’t use pepper!” It’s a proclamation awarded the same exclamation-point-weight as the admission, “we don’t put pink slime in our burgers any more” currently in use by a very famous industrial crap hamburger operation. It’s as if one set of sausage guys is accusing the other of a crime akin to murder (of a tradition at least). “No, Luigi, there’s only two ingredients in a real, manly sausage, salt and pig. Everybody knows that. Get with the program!”
Anyway, this weekend I popped into the Ristobar in San Francisco to see the pig preparations by the famous Butcher Brothers of the Abruzzo, Ercole and Stefano Fasciocco. Below is a picture of one of them with the sausage he made in front of us. I think it’s Stefano, but you know, I was eating, photographing, handing out business cards, and admiring some of the world’s finest sausage. I was distracted. Here, be distracted yourselves:
The Abruzzese are inclined to put a little dried orange peel into their sausage. That’s fine with me. If you take that sausage with some orange peel, put some peperoncini in it and cure it, it becomes my favorite salame, ventricina.
I can tell you, if the Butcher Brothers ever come to your city as part of a Slow Food event like the one I observed, go. Don’t even hesitate. They don’t have anything to do with the food except to cook it and serve it to you, so you get quite a value. I mean the guy took a suckling pig out of the fridge, made sausage, and had it grilled just outside the door and on our plates in an hour. It’s not like that stuff in the Styrofoam tray that’s been in the Safeway display case since the 1906 earthquake, I’m talking fresh sausage made from top notch ingredients.
Dammit I’ve gotten myself hungry. I gotta go.
Oh, here’s the Event Notice
The Butcher Brothers toil at their macelleria, Antica Macelleria Fasciocco, making delightful things out of pig and sheep with masterfully short strokes of the boning knife and a lot of salt. They are expert at making salumi, salsicce, and spiedini. I’ll bet your butcher can’t touch them with a Styrofoam tray.