The grilled sausage plate from Almon Marina has long been one of my favorite go-to weekend lunches. The quality, you see, is consistently good: the sausages are meaty, properly seasoned, and grilled to a turn. The tomato-rich pilaf and the creamy potato salad make the perfect foil to the goodness of the sausages.
I was hankering for the saucisson San Marco – those small, garlicky Franco-Basque sausages akin to the piquant, locally-produced, and equally savory longganizang Lucban – but was informed that it wasn’t available. In its place, the counter-staff pointed me in the direction of the salsiccia Veneziana.
If you love the bulk Italian sausages crumbled onto pizza, I daresay this particular sausage will appeal to you. The meat used for the Veneziana is a mixture of pork and lean veal, both coarsely ground so that the forcemeat pumped into the casings is chunkier than the spongier sort used for such sausages as the more popular Hungarian links, frankfurters, and cervelat. The forcemeat is seasoned with salt, pepper, and the dynamic duo of sage and thyme that gives Italian sausage much of its savor. The sausage is then grilled till the casing crisps up and is dusted over with finely-chopped parsley before serving.
Unlike the shorter, stubbier, two-link serve for the saucisson San Marco, the Veneziana is served as a single, large link with the pilaf and potato salad. Despite the fact that it is considerably leaner (and thus has less nubbins of fat) than most sausages, it is surprisingly succulent and brings out the taste of the tomatoes used to color the pilaf. The taste also balances out the slightly sweet and fairly peppery flavors in the potato salad.
All said, it is the sort of meal that is perfect for the balmy, somewhat chilly weather that has descended upon Manila at this time of year. Now, if only Almon Marina could sell the sausages alone so I can replicate this fine meal at home… 😀