The Sardinian Snack 0 Comments
Up to yesterday, I thought that a spuntino (Italian for snack) was something you eat when you are hungry but you don't want to spoil your coming meal, so you put a piece of bread in your mouth with a piece of salami or cheese just to close that little pit in your stomach... So when I received an invitation for a spuntino, I went with a light heart, expecting just a snack of sliced salami and cheese with slices of bread accompanied perhaps by half a glass of Cannonau to be drunk in good companionship.
Oh no, in Sardinia the spuntino is a serious matter! The cheese and salami platters are there. Lying next to slices of pecorino variously aged, there are slices of various types of salami, which here are called Sa Sartizza. There is also half a glass of full-bodied and enveloping Cannonau, the best quality one. There will certainly be the precious wines of Sardinia and beer.
But do not forget that all of these delights are just appetizers. While you've thoroughly enjoyed the cheese, wiped your mouth with a sip of wine and then sampled the salami, the chefs are working on two wonderful winter specialties: Coated Sheep Soup and Pork & Cabbage Soup. These are two broth soups of the Sardinian agro-pastoral culture which are really worth giving details.
The Coated Sheep Soup is a broth made with 2 kg of sheep meat, cut into not too large pieces, boiled in a large pot (minimum of 10 litres) with the addition of various vegetables: 4 white onions, 4 potatoes with their peel, 2 carrots, a celery, a sprig of thyme, chili pepper if appreciated. It is important to skim (scamai s'abba) when the water boils. Removing the foam released from the boiling meat decreases the persistent flavour and strong scent of the dish, so the more is skimmed the more the organoleptic intensity is reduced. It is a mainly winter dish but in the summer the flavour of the sheep meat reaches exceptional aromas as sheep are fed with dried grass. The dish should be served in a bowl capable of containing meat and vegetables in their cooking broth, in which you can soak the pistoccu, a typical Sardinian dry bread. It should be known that, if cooked at home, the Coated Sheep Soup will give out a smell that will remain attached to the walls for days and days.
The Pork & Cabbage Soup consists of a broth of pork, cabbage, potatoes, herbs and pasta. In a saucepan a pork foot divided into two and 300 gr. of fresh pork rind cut into small pieces, a bay leaf, a sliced onion, a pinch of salt, are cooked all together and everything will be covered with water, and kept cooking until the pork meat get softened. After draining and taking the foot bone off, the pulp is cut into small pieces. In another pan, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a mince made of 100 g. of lard with a small onion are frying until getting brown, then 2 litres of water are poured into the saucepan, adding a cabbage of about 700 g., cleaned, (washed and cut into wide strips) plus 200 g. of peeled and sliced potatoes. When boiling, 300 g. of pasta together with the pulp of the pork meat, a little salt and pepper are added to finish cooking. The Pork & Cabbage Soup should be served hot with grated pecorino on the side.
This is the Sardinian snack! And there you become aware that eating good food cooked with ancient recipes, not only satisfies the senses of taste and smell but, in exploring culinary customs of other lands, enriches soul and mind and makes you fly a little further.
"And if food is taken with balanced gluttony and in good company, it is a source of great joy and gives benefits” (Carlo Antonio Borghi)
written by Daniela Toti