Tag Archives: Gelatina

CHIARAMONTE in South-Eastern and the best butcher in Sicily

This is Massimiliano Castro the best butcher in Sicily. I visited him in his butcher shop in Chiaramonte Gulfi in the province of Ragusa. As you can see he is quite famous. And his praise is well deserved.

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I sampled and bought small pieces of his different salami and salamini (small salami). Some are flavoured with Sicilian pistachio from Bronte or carob or wild fennel from the local area. Most were made with the prized meat of the black pigs from the forests of the Nebrodi Mountains. Their meat is of extremely high quality. The wild breed is diminishing but with the help of the Slow Food Presidium this indigenous breed and the products obtained from this pig is being preserved. Massimiliano sources his pigs from farmers who are breeding them on organic farms.

He is also making some with asina meat (female donkey). Do not be alarmed, donkey meat was eaten in most parts of Italy once and was also used in smallgoods. These donkeys are native in the region of Ragusa and were once used to carry sacks and bundles and were eaten once the animal was too old. Now they are bred exclusively for their meat. Just as there is a renewed interest in the native Nebrodi black pig the Slow Food Ark of Taste is also helping to preserve indigenous breeds of donkeys all over Italy and the products obtained from their meat. The donkeys are being bred in limited numbers on special farms.

 

Massimiliano vacuumed packed all of the bits I bought as gifts for my relatives in Ragusa. He does this for customers who order his smallgoods from other parts of Italy as well as overseas buyers. I also bought some Gelatina renowned in this Southeast are of Sicily. I have written about this previously.

 

His reputation is certainly growing and he has been invited to conduct a smallgoods making workshop in Australia in the near future.

 

The visit to his butcher shop was kindly arranged by Roberta Carradin and Antonio Cicero who live on the outskirts of Chiaramonte have a restaurant called Il Cosiglio Di Sicilia in Donnalucata. They invited me to visit Massimiliano because they know I’m interested in the quality artisan produce that has developed in this area of Sicily, which has growing reputation for excellent artisan produce.

 

Roberta and Antonio bought the meat from Massimiliano’s butcher shop and we sampled the donkey meat which was tasty and maybe could be described as tasting of veal or young beef.

 

Jann Huizenga wrote about our fabulous lunch on her blog called Baroque Sicily.

 

The menu at Robert’s and Antonio’s restaurant features fish freshly caught by the local fishermen off the coast around the small and very attractive fishing village of Donnalucata in Southeast Sicily and dishes of smallgoods and meat from Massimiliano.

Thank you Jann for introducing me to such lovely friends, each one so passionate about Sicily and its produce.

There are so many wonderful things happening in Sicily and each one of you – a photographer, a butcher, a chef and a food critic, all contributing to preserving, developing and celebrating the culinary wealth of Southeastern part of Sicily.

 

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GELATINA DI MAIALE and HAPPY BIRTHDAY BAR IDDA (Buon Compleanno Bar Idda).

The happy chefs of Bar Idda (photo).

Lisa and Alfredo (right) are the proprietors of Bar Idda in Lygon Street. They have returned from their holiday in Sicily full of ideas and enthusiasm for their small, Sicilian restaurant.

See previous posts:

 

On the 5t of July they celebrated their first birthday and their new menu strongly influenced by their recent discoveries of different recipes experienced while in Sicily.

Anthony is the bar person and after discussing the wine with him we selected a bottle of ROSSOJBLEO, a bio-organic, Sicilian Nero d’Avola from Chiaramonte Gulfi (Ragusa). My partner and I then ate our way through many very enjoyable Sicilian specialties. These included:

Hot ricotta soup with home made pasta. Ricotta is very much appreciated by Sicilians especially when it has just been made.  Particularly in Ragusa and the environs people visit cheese makers (sometimes on farms) and watch the ricotta being made. Ladles of hot, fresh curds and whey are usually poured on broken pieces of bread and eaten like soup.  See earlier post:

SICILIAN CHEESE. A VISIT TO A MASSARO (farmer-cheese maker) IN RAGUSA. 

Gelatina di maiale (brawn, made with pork- see recipe and photos below) and some affettati (a selection of cold cuts of salumi). An eggplant caponata was also included in this antipasto.  (See recipe CAPONATA SICILIANA).

Farsumagru (il falsomagro is a beef, meat roll stuffed with hard boiled egg and can include cheeses , salamini and mortadella).  It is braised in a tomato sauce and presented sliced. In this case it was made with minced beef and Alfredo’s version included a little zucchini for colour and variety of textures. Farsumagru translates into false–lean. It contains delectable ingredients including meat, so this is a pun on ‘lenten’ food – during the liturgical seasons Catholics were required to eat simple food and to abstain from eating meat. These laws have relaxed over time.

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The farsumagru was accompanied by a warm potato salad with capers and comichons, and a fennel and orange salad with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds.

We then had a glass of Malvasia a very rich flavoured dessert wine made by drying Malvasia grapes (bianche– white variety)  before crushing.  It was an excellent accompaniment to the small fried pastries called cassateddi. There are many local variations to this recipe, and in this version the dough was stuffed with ricotta, cinnamon, and honey. I could taste some alcohol too. (Honey is used instead of sugar in the Ragusa area).

Thank you Bar Idda, for a very enjoyable meal. Auguri e complimenti and may there be many years to come.

 Recipe and photo of the Gelatina I make



Gelatina (means gelatine or jellied). It is sold as a Smallgoods food.

In various parts of Sicily the gelatina di maiale is called by a variety of names: jlatina di maiali, Suzu, suzzu, or zuzu.

I found a recipe for gelatina scribbled in one of many notebooks which I use to record recipes when I visit Italy. In this particular notebook from 1980, there are many Sicilian recipes, but on this particular trip I must have visited the relatives in Genova (a Piedmontese aunt married to my father’s brother and living in Genova and her daughter Rosadele who is an excellent cook also). There were  also some recipes written in Trieste (my zia Renata was from Rovigo and married my mother’s brother).

I have not made gelatina di maiale for many years but I have always included a half of a pork’s head – this provides the jelly component. The tongue adds texture and extra flavour (you can throw out the eyes).

It is always a good idea to pre-order a pork’s head beforehand and I was not able to purchase one. I used pork feet instead (as you can see by this photo) and fortunately it turned out very well. In this gelatina I included approx 1.500 kilo of lean pork (cut into large pieces) and four pig’s feet.
INGREDIENTS AND PROCESSES
The recipe is one of my zia Niluzza’s who lives in Ragusa (Sicily) and it simply says:
1 part vinegar to 3 parts of water, red chilli flakes or whole pepper corns and salt. Use a mixed selection of pork meat, including the head.
Place in cold water mixture, cover meat.
Boil for 6 hours (covered) on slow heat.
Filter broth, remove some of the fat and reduce, remove bones, shred meat.
Lay meat in earthenware bowl, cover with cooled broth and leave to set.

Over time, I have altered the recipe and include bay leaves and peppercorns and I boil the pork without the vinegar only for about 3 hours (until I can see the meat falling off the bones).

Once it is cooked, I leave it to rest overnight.

The next day I remove the meat from the jelly, I add ½ cup of vinegar and the juice of a couple of lemons to the broth and reduce the liquid down to a third of the original amount.

I shred the meat and place it into a terrine and cover it with the cooled reduced stock. Any fat will rise to the surface and can be scraped off when it is cool (in fact, it acts as a seal).

 Recipe and photo of the FARSUMAGRO I make.

I call it Polpettone.

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