The Salamina da sugo
The Salama da sugo ferrarese (or soft salami from Ferrara) has been the main gastronomic product of Ferrara since five hundred years. While some doubts remain about its origins, it is certain that its birthplace is Ferrara, where it was particularly appreciated by the Este dukes.
At the beginning, it was the main course of ducal lunches, but later it became a dish for the peasants of Ferrara (who are still its faithful guardians), and finally a dish for special occasions.
According to the legend, this soft salami became famous thanks to Lucrezia Borgia, married to Alfonso d’Este, in the early XVI century. In that period, many feasts and banquets were organized and when the great chefs such as Cristoforo da Messisbugo started to create the future Italian gastronomy, Ferrara began one of the major centres of the Renaissance culture, attracting eminent people who came to stay here, hosted and nourished at the court’s expense.
Today, this sausage is still produced by pork-butchers in their own workshops and is matured in appropriate rooms using pork lean meats - such as cheeks, neck, bacon, liver, tongue - meticulously hand-mixed with natural spices and plenty of wine.
The meat is then sacked into the pig's bladder and tied into a variable number of portions (6/8/10/12), depending on the butchers’ school of thought. Before being cooked, it has to be cleaned and put into cold water on the previous night, preferably enveloped in a thin cloth. It must be immersed into a pot full of water, without touching the bottom: a wooden stick leaned against the rims will support the salama with its own string. It must then be brought to boil on low heat from 4 to 7 hours, depending on the maturing, and filling the pot up with water when necessary, but without ever stopping the boil.
Once cooked, it can be placed on the typical round dish with mashed potatoes. It is then cut at the top and served very hot with a spoon. Delicious also when it is raw, served with melon or figs, or cooked but served cold.
Within the province of Ferrara, the Salama da sugo is produced in Buonacompra, Madonna Boschi, Poggio Renatico, Vigarano Mainarda and Portomaggiore. These places "compete" for the supremacy as regards the quality of this sausage, boasting recipes that differ in some details.
The Sagra della Salamina da Sugo al Cucchiaio (Festival of the Salamina da Sugo served with a spoon), in Madonna Boschi during the month of September and October, is one of the major events that celebrate the salama. It is a festival entirely dedicated to the typical taste of this sausage. It is organized by the Pro Loco that produces the Salamine in appropriate environments in compliance with the regulations and traditions.
Other festivals are the Salama da sugo tipica in Buonacompra during the month of July and the “Sagra della salama da sugo e dei sapori portuensi” in Portomaggiore during the month of September.
Among the specialties prepared with this product are the Fagottini alla Salamina da Sugo, the Gran trittico di Salamina da Sugo, the Salamina da Sugo a cucchiaio with mashed potatoes, the Cima di prè with Salamina da Sugo sauce and Garganelli alla Salamina.