OUR SON-IN-LAW, who was born in Prague and so can't really help it, is a carnivore and a lover of sausage. He is so fond of sausage that when it is served — in his home, often heaped on a platter — he has been known to set the platter on the floor and lead the children in a little dance around it, hands linked, as in the game Ring-Around-a-Rosy, except that at the end there is no general collapse, he simply lifts the platter respectfully up from the floor, holds it aloft a few moments, and then returns it to the table. Whereupon all hands fall to.
We've been known to eat sausage here on Eastside Road, you may have noticed. Tonight it's a sausage new to us: Salamelle di Mantua: pork with clove, nutmeg, and garlic. I have never been to Mantua and am a little uncertain as to its history. This sausage, though — made by Franco Dunn, Healdsburg's master salumiere (or is he Geyserville? I'm not sure…) — seemed to me to have a Venetian tang to it. It got me to thinking: there's a sophistication to the cuisines of cosmopolitan centers, like Venice, where ideas and spices and other ingredients from many corners of the known world meet and mix.
I suppose it was simply the cloves and nutmeg brought this to mind. Whatever, this was another of Cook's marvelous dinners from local sources, for ours is the best of both kinds of terroir: open to ideas from everywhere, almost, but capable of growing the ingredients ourselves. (Well, maybe not the nutmeg and the cloves.)
So here you have Salamelle di Mantua, sliced heritage tomatoes, and delicious green beans cooked with butter and shallots; and in the center of the plate Cook's nod to her mother of Bavarian ethnicity, a fine potato salad.
Afterward, of course, green salad, and melon for dessert…