Like all of Italy Abruzzo has its own distinctive culinary heritage and a meal often starts with an amazing selection of hams and salami. Our supplier there, Luigi di Lello, has a farm just outside of Scerni and makes traditional Abruzzese charcuterie from free range pigs, using no saltpeter or other preservatives
At the moment we are in love with his Salamella al Fegato. The main ingredient is pork liver (fegato), which is cut by hand, mixed with fat from the guanciale (cheek) and then seasoned. As well as sweet chilli and a pinch of fennel seeds, Luigi uses the peel of bitter oranges (cetrangolo in Italian) and, the last thing to be added, a 20 year old vino cotto
Vino Cotto comes from grape must, the freshly pressed grape juice that still contains the skins, seeds and stems of the fruit. Making must is the first step in making wine or it can also be slowly boiled down to make vino cotto, a dark, sweet syrup that has been used since Roman times as a sweetener (or souring agent if mixed with sour wine). Today Luigi uses it to balance the strong flavour of liver and for its properties as a natural preservative.
After 5-6 months of ageing the salamella is ready to be eaten with some good bread and any mix of antipasti. In Abruzzo (and the photo) we had it with pickled persimmon and foraged agretti (saltwort – salsola soda – in English) but that might just be a tall order in the UK.. Bruschetta or buffalo mozzarella, a frittata, olives or other salumi would be just as delicious.
We sell a selection of Luigi’s other products through our online shop.