Quite good timing! - the day the loveSicily Cookery course begins (later this evening we have our welcome dinner) coincides with the 15th edition of the classic food blogging event - which this time focuses on things that go `jelly`!
In the case of South-East Sicily, and in particular Ragusa - the ultimate jellied food is undoubtedly pork jelly, an absolute masterpiece of pork gastronomy. Pork jelly, once a poor mans dish, originated from the need to use all the less valuable parts of the pig left over after butchering: trotters, rind, ears and snout are boiled in vinegar, bay lives, chili pepper and lemon and then pickled in their own jelly. This is a typical appetizer and, nowadays, is often prepared in a more `noble` version only using lean meat. In the hot weather, jelly was also used as a technique for preserving food which deteriorated rapidly.
The recipe for the pork jelly is as follows:
Place in a pot with about 5lt of cold water, 100gr of lean pork meat, 100gr of trotters, rind, ears and snout and let it cook over a slow fire for three hours. After the three hours remove the meat and allow the broth to cool while also removing any undesirable fat of the top. Subsequently, add half a glass of white vinegar per litter of liquid and the juice of half a bitter orange (or simply lemon). You then add this to the meat so that it is covered. Place the entire mixture in the mix and allow it to cool. For added taste you can add either bay leaves or chili to the broth - or the skin of the bitter orange.
Clearly in modern times one can remove a lot of the fat and use gelatine as the jellying agent. In fact the one we have in the picture below is quite a modernized version of this old dish that is easy going on our palates. Only lean pork is used, with chilli for taste and gelatine to bring it all together. Still it has a wonderful taste, and the seaside of Pozzallo as the background is just the natural setting to enjoy this cold dish, alongside some tomatoes and a couple of slices of bread.