Growing up in rural East Tennessee, one of the staples in the refrigerator was Bologna. My great grandmother often made fried Bologna sandwiches and it was one of my favorite things. Although I have not had one in many years, I can still remember watching the bologna rise to a dome in the pan before my grandmother cut notches to return it to its flat state. The edges were caramelized and crunchy. She served it on toasted “white bread” with mayonnaise.

The bologna I ate was a simple version of the sausage Mortadella of the Bologna region Italy. Mortadella may have gotten its name from two different plausible manners. Firstly, it is theorized that the name derives from myrtle (mortella in Italian), one of the original ingredients. The name could also have derived from the production technique in which the meat is ground to a paste with a mortar and pestle (mortella della carne).

Mortadella is an emulsion type sausage. This means that the fat and lean components of the meat are combined together and interspersed into a smooth paste. Typically, these sausages follow a 5-4-3 ratio: 5 parts lean raw meat, 4 parts fat, and 3 parts ice water. Both the fat and lean meat is ground through a small meat grinding die and then emulsified in a high speed mixer or blender before being stuffed into casings and cooked.

I recently tried to make my first mortadella (as seen in the picture) and had some success. I emulsified the paste in a standing Hobart mixer which probably kept it from becoming the typical smooth paste associated with this type of sausage. I have a few ideas as to how to make it better on the next attempt.


~ by Schwarvin on December 16, 2008.

One Response to “Mortadella”

  1. Hah, hah. I haven’t thought about what fried bologna looks like in ages! Too funny.

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