Tuesday, February 5, 2013
I don’t know what your husband (or wife) brings home to you when they go on a business trip, but 9 times out of 10, my husband comes home with some kind of meat. He takes the phrase ‘bringing home the bacon’ very seriously.
Last week, while on a trip up to Tuscany, where he is working on the restoration of a farmhouse, Domenico not only brought home the bacon (literally. a kilo of pancetta) but also came home with a mega-sized bistecca fiorentina, several pork chops, enough bollito for an army and various other tidbits.
The meat in question came from the famous butcher in Gaiole in Chianti, Chini. (No. This is not the more famous Dario Cecchini, the singing butcher who won't really sell you any meat unless you order it way ahead of time. It's the more accessible and just as good Chini, who has a larder full of meat just waiting to be bought)
Once Domenico had seemingly bought out half the store, he called me on the phone, all excited. “I got a buristo!”
First of all, you have to realize that Domenico loves calling me from the speaker phone in the car. The problem is, he’s usually driving in the back hills of Umbria or Tuscany. Which means bad reception. Which means I usually get about half of what he’s said.
After he had repeated ‘buristo’ about five times, I finally just said, ‘great! fantastic! ’ hung up the phone, and decided to google what I thought I had heard.
Buristo: A pig’s stomach stuffed with pigs blood and pork.
I must have misheard. Because I couldn’t imagine Domenico was going to arrive home with a blood-stuffed pig’s stomach.
Actually, he arrived with just half a blood-stuffed pigs stomach.
I have to admit that I had never bought blood sausage before. Tasted it, for sure. Many, many times. At food fairs, and salami stores. And I did always like it. But....it’s so rich, and usually so strong tasting, that by the time I’d tasted it I’d usually decided I’d had enough.
After searching around the web a bit, I saw that buristo, a Tuscan specialty, is often used on top of bruschetta, which sounded like a great idea. The over-the-top richness would melt into the hot and toasted bread.
The only problem with this plan, is that for the month of February we’ve decided to try to go cold turkey with carbs. (Yes. Writing three apps in two years is catching up with me)
So I decided to make a kind of carb-less bruschetta. I took a beautiful head of pristine cauliflower, and cut it into thick, steak-like, slabs. After brushing them with olive oil, and a bit of salt and pepper, I laid a slice of buristo on top of each one.
Into a hot oven they went, and 20 minutes later the cauliflower had softened and browned at the edges and the buristo had melted into all the nooks and crevices.
And using pork as a condiment? It almost makes you forget you aren't eating any carbs.
buristo and cauliflower
1 head of cauliflower
Several slices of buristo*
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 200C/400F
*I’d never seen buristo before, so I’m thinking it might be hard for you to track down. You can substitute any other type of blood sausage, like Spanish Morcilla, French Boudin Noir or even German Blutwurst.
Cut the Cauliflower into 3/5 inch thick slices, being careful to keep the ‘steaks’ together. This is easy in the center, where the stem holds everything together. If you are serving this for company, it might be worth it to get several heads of cauliflower and use only the center parts. Then reserve the ends for another use.
Place the cauliflower steaks on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, coating both sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay a thin slice of sausage on top of each steak, covering it. (you may have to use more than one slice if your cauliflower is big)
Place in oven, on middle rack, until tender and slightly browned. About 20 minutes.
Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley.
Via Roma 2
Gaiole in Chianti