Spices and flavorings play a fundamental role in the Italian culinary tradition because they enhance the taste of meat, such as minced meat in burgers, meatballs and sausages.
Europrodotti helps you make these specialties unique by selecting and bringing the best natural condiments to your tables.
Have you ever wondered what the burgers, meatballs and sausages we eat would taste like if they were prepared without herbs and spices but only with minced meat? The sensory experience would certainly be pleasant thanks to the taste of good quality and well-worked beef or pork meat. Yet our taste buds would warn us that something is missing, as if the food had no identity.
The importance of food identity
How could we define the identity of a food? In two words those characteristics of an aliment that make the difference between eating out of necessity and eating for pleasure. We can also add that food identity does not correspond to gastronomy, which describes recipes and the art of cooking. Rather it represents those sensations that a food can produce in our senses: the palate but also the sense of smell and even sight. Isn't the sight of an iconic dish like spaghetti with meatballs enough to make your mouth water, even before you smell or taste it?
Spices and flavorings are of course a fundamental ingredient in creating the food identity of any culinary speciality. Let us remember that they do not cover the flavor of meat or any other dish but enhance it making it richer, more varied and more profound.
For example let's think about the irresistible taste of burgers, meatballs and sausages that can become the main course of a refined lunch or dinner. Naturally it depends on how they are brought to the table, on the elegance of the plating and on the combination with the right side dish, but above all on how the meat is flavored and spiced. Just to offer you some advice on choosing the most suitable spices and aromatic herbs for your recipes we have consulted some old-fashioned recipe books and the most classic of cooking texts: Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well by the Italian gastronomist Pellegrino Artusi.
A bit of history…..
Making burgers at home with thyme and marjoram
There was a time in Italy when burgers were simply called svizzere or medallions. We are not talking about centuries ago but the Seventies, shortly before the arrival in our peninsula of fast food restaurants with their rich assortment of sandwiches stuffed not only with beef but also with bacon, cheese and of course ketchup.
This doesn't mean that burgers were unknown. They were mentioned in American films and we saw them served in episodes of Happy Days to customers of Arnold's, the restaurant frequented by Fonzie, Richie & co. They had already appeared in a frozen version even in supermarkets. But whoever ordered them from a trusted butcher's shop had to ask for a svizzera or a medallion of meat if he didn't want to be looked down upon by the butcher and other customers.
However, many families preferred the burger, sorry, the homemade svizzera made by their mother or grandmother. So we decided to look in the cookbooks and the household encyclopedias of those years for the type of recipe they were inspired by. We discovered first of all that the proposed preparation was not a way to recycle leftover chicken or turkey from the day before. The meat indicated for the dough had to be first choice, such as a fillet of beef. This explains how the svizzera steak could also be served for an important Sunday meal.
But let's get to the dressing, which generally consisted of a mix of these ingredients:
Whoever had developed this set of condiments for meat certainly wanted to offer a strong and decisive taste but without excesses, as would have happened if paprika had also been added. Thyme and marjoram are proposed because among the aromatic plants they are the ones that go best with meat dishes, also promoting their digestion. The thyme also offers a slightly spicy aftertaste that complements the salt and pepper nicely. Marjoram, on the other hand, adds a note of sweetness to those types of quick-cooking dishes such as grilled meats.
If you too want to try this preparation, the burger, sorry again, the svizzera you will get will be a meat with a pleasantly robust flavor that it would be a shame to alter with the addition of sauces or melted cheese.
Europrodotti continues the traditions of the herbalists and drugstores of yesteryear, bringing spices and aromatic herbs to our kitchens, natural ingredients to enrich the taste of each recipe.
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