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Maltese Sausage at a Glance
Malta, southern Europe
Type of Charcuterie
Pork, fat, sea salt, garlic (optional), crushed black peppercorns, crushed coriander seeds, parsley
Maltese Sausage Description
Located in southern Europe, east of Tunisia, south of Sicily and in the middle of the Mediterranean the Republic of Malta is the smallest country in the European union. Its strategic location has resulted in the occupation of various races specifically Arabs, French, English, Italians, Spaniards and Phoenicians.
This has given way to a mélange of continental flavors as well as cooking techniques. The strongest influences on Maltese cuisine are those of the North Africans and neighboring Sicilians. Likewise the tradition of making sausages is one that is carried over from the past.
The Maltese sausage, also locally known as zalzetta tal-malti, is a homemade sausage that is influenced by England but made in accordance to Portuguese traditions. It is similar to the pork salsicca of the Italians and can be made either plain or with garlic, depending on the type. Fresh Maltese sausage is often made with garlic, while dry types are made without this.
The production of Maltese sausage begins with ground pork and fat. This is seasoned with sea salt, crushed black peppercorns, crushed coriander seeds, parsley, garlic and other spices then stuffed into sausage casings.
For dried varieties, the links are pricked to let air out and left to dry for about 2 to 4 days. The result is a short and thick sausage with a pinkish color when raw. Once cooked, this becomes brown and is full of flavor. The amount of sea salt used also makes for a slightly salty sausage that has bit of crunch and texture thanks to the peppercorn and coriander.
An important part of Maltese cuisine, this sausage is enjoyed in many ways. Dry types may be eaten raw without any cooking despite the appearance. It can be served with sun dried tomatoes, biscuits, bread and many others. When sliced thinly it may be eaten as an antipasto, added to salad or even scooped out and mixed with other ingredients to create a spread or used in pasta sauce.
Maltese sausage can also be cooked in many different ways including grilled, smoked, steamed, stewed and fried. In Malta it is often enjoyed stewed in tomato sauce. When a less salty taste is needed, it is often boiled before cooking.