Tips and tricks for an innovative grill using little-known cuts of meat and excellent fish products
With family, relatives or friends. For Easter, August 15th or on a relaxed summer evening. The barbecue, for Italians, cannot be classified in the category of mere meals. It is more of a ritual, a social catalyst capable of making special days and occasions unforgettable. Grilled is conviviality, the essence of a unifying cuisine, designed to fortify and strengthen bonds. There is nothing to object to the goodness and watering effect that ribs, marinated chops, sausages, tuna fillets and tasty crispy slices of bacon cause on the palates. But traditional cuts of meat and fish products can be combined with unusual, exotic and surprising ingredients. Fish Tuna is certainly one of the most used fish when grilling with friends. The classic slice of “sea pig”, expertly seared for a few seconds on the hot grill and served with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil always arouses enthusiasm among the diners. Even the heart of the tuna can be a perfect ingredient for our barbecue, a product that is often discarded but which, if cooked correctly, can give you a lot of satisfaction. The essence of the heart is savory, ferrous, extremely iodized and with a strong marine scent. A perfect match with chimichurri, a sauce from Argentina, based on parsley, which is often used for marinating meat. Always remaining on the tuna, we would like to point out some grilled tuna skewers in green sauce, a recipe born of a reality moved by absolutely noble purposes. We are talking about the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council), an international non-profit organization that promotes ocean health through its fish sustainability standards. In the hinterland of the beautiful Romagna town of Comacchio, famous for its marshy valleys and also mentioned by Ariosto in his “Orlando Furioso”, one of the typical dishes is certainly eel. This is extremely tasty when grilled and glazed with a dark beer. The bitter notes of the latter are in fact perfect for balancing the fatty meat of the fish. Moving to the Far East, precisely in Japan, the skewers of eel livers glazed with teriyaki sauce and cooked on the shichirin, a small grill fueled with charcoal, are famous. Always remaining on the local fish, how not to mention the mantis shrimp and razor clams. Quickly cooked over hot embers, they are perfect accompanied only by a tear of extra virgin olive oil and a few crystals of Maldon salt. An interesting option may be the one that sees the smoking of fish such as tuna or salmon directly on the grill. Essential ingredients are aromatic wood shavings (such as beech, oak or cherry), a quality charcoal and a good liqueur with which to sprinkle the shavings. Just arrived in Italy, a unique species of King salmon, raised in the clear and pristine waters of the Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand, Now King Salmon has been defined by the NY Times as the “sea wagyu”. Orange color, appetizing to the eye, roundness and fullness, lines of marbled fat and a distinctive sweetness on the palate for this meat. King salmon is a very rare species that accounts for less than 1% of world salmon production, in short, the spearhead of this fish. And by the way it is a very sustainable project: the New Zealand King Salmon Company has been running a controlled salmon farming program for over 25 years, which has produced 9 generations of King salmon, creating over 100 distinct families, respecting biological cycle of fish. Each year, only the best specimens are selected for breeding based on specific characteristics, thus creating the unique breed of Ōra King, genetically distinct from any other salmon species in the world. If, on the other hand, you want to indulge yourself and enjoy a previously smoked salmon, our choice focuses on the products of the “Fumara” line by Foodlab. The Italian company, located in the Parma Food Valley, with passion, commitment and dedication brings to Italy, directly from the Northern seas, a fresh and never frozen product. The product of the Upstream company – the prized salmon of Claudio Cerati, based in Lemignano di Collecchio (PR) is also definitely valid. The salmon is lightly smoked with a mix of Italian woods, mostly beeches harvested from the Parma Apennines. The technique is clean, caressing the fish and giving it the delicate aromatic notes of smoke. Meat An extremely underrated cut in the beautiful country but which enjoys an excellent reputation in other states is certainly the beef diaphragm. Famous in Argentina with the name of Entraña, turns out to be a cut rich in juices, with a rather ferrous scent and an enviable softness if cooked to perfection. As an accompaniment we recommend the classic chimichurri sauce, an excellent combination that will surprise you. Always remaining on the beef, spinach and bavetta are worthy of mention. The first is a muscle located in the rear of the cow; with a delicate taste, it can recall the magatello. The bavetta, also called flap meat, is positioned under the brisket. With an intense scent and a fibrous but sufficiently tender consistency, it prefers medium cooking. As with tuna, bison heart can also be an excellent ingredient for your barbecues. The advice is to give the heart a quick sear, the taste will be delicate and you will feel a slight hint of smoked. It goes perfectly with a few drops of apple balsamic vinegar, the contrast will be a joy for the palate of the diners. For lovers of exotic cuts we would like to recommend the zebra fillet. With a pinkish appearance, the zebra fillet stands out for its delicacy and softness, despite being an extremely lean cut. The pigeon is one of the most popular meats in the great Italian starry kitchens. Also suitable for cooking on the barbecue, we recommend rolling the bird with slices of lard to flavor and at the same time preserve the meat from direct and rather aggressive cooking. As lard we recommend that obtained from the quiet pig ( il maiale tranquillo) from the Bettella farm in Gabbioneta-Binanuova (CR): the company’s philosophy is to make the animal grow at the rhythms that nature dictates, without forcing its development in any way. Finally, two goodies for lovers of strong flavors: veal and sheep sweetbreads, if cooked on the grill are soft and tasty. The intense flavor of the meat can be softened by glazing it with a sauce based on honey, soy sauce, mustard and sage. The founders of Porco Brado, on the other hand, have selected the pigs of Cinta Senese and Grigio della Val di Chiana, ancient and recovered species that grow in the wild on the hills of Tuscany, in Cortona in the Angelo Polezzi farm. They offer meat already marinated and smoked with apple and cherry wood, to be combined with a homemade sauce, from the spicy one with Jalapeno to the more delicate one with Syrah. and rest phases, 100 hours. The Cinta Senese and Grigio Chianino varieties are first smoked with fruit wood, then salted, marinated and cooked slowly for 18 hours before being smoked in the oak wood barbecue and served. And if Porco Brado won the “Best Sandwich” award at “The European Street Food Awards 2017” in Berlin, the merit is undoubtedly for this meat.