No. 37 Italian Cheese
Heather Arndt Anderson
Posted on June 3rd, 2011
This is prepared by chopping up the whole of the pig’s pluck, the chitterlings, and a couple of pounds of the fat; mix this in a pan with seasoning composed of chopped sage, thyme, winter savory, allspice, pepper, and salt, and with it fill earthen pots or jars having lids to them; bake the contents in moderate heat; or if you have no oven of your own, send them to the baker’s. A jar containing two pounds would require about an hour and three-quarters’ baking. Italian cheese is to be eaten cold, spread upon bread.
Like Belgian faggots, this is a humble peasant dish that would likely fetch a high price in any French restaurant. It is basically a type of pâté, like a cross between rillettes (spreadable pork in lard) and andouillettes (the most famous chitterlings sausage). I can’t figure out why this is called Italian cheese; it is somewhat like a milder version of the Calabrian nduja (a very spicy, spreadable salami), but it more closely resembles a Scandinavian pâté called leverposte in flavor profile, with the addition of chitterlings.
Coarsely chop any of the pork offal that does not offend you; personally, I’d stick with liver and kidneys, though I realize that’s not very adventurous. If you’re really gung-ho, use the entire pluck (larynx, trachea, lungs, heart and liver) and chitterlings. Just chop it all up, season with 1/2 teaspoon each sage, thyme and savory, 1/4 teaspoon allspice and a few good pinches of salt and pepper. Put it in a lidded ceramic or glass baking crock and add good lard at a 1:1 weight ratio to the offal. Bake at around 250° for around two hours (until the meats are very tender), and chill before serving. Serve this with a rustic baguette or brown bread, coarse mustard and a variety of pickles (pickled red onions, beets, cornichons, etc.).