The Art of Loukanika – Greek Sausage
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In some form, sausage has been eaten in Greece since ancient times. The ancient Spartans made a form of sausage called melas zomos, which is directly translated as meaning “black broth.” Although the Spartans ate this dish almost daily, the rest of Ancient Greece was somewhat repulsed by it. Greek sausage has come a long way since then. Here’s some more information about loukanika, the Greek sausage that is popular in Greece and throughout the world:
Origins of Sausage in Greece
Although the word, “loukanika” can be traced to the Lucanio region in Italy, the recipe itself is very much a Greek creation. It is also interesting to note that the word, “sausage” is actually derived from a word that both Latin and Greek share called Isica, which refers to a hamburger-like dish that was served in both Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. The food known as “salami”, though it is associated with Italy, also has its roots in Greece and points to the salt mines on a Greek island in the Sardonic Gulf. Somewhere amidst this long history of sausages and of dishes that resemble sausages,the modern recipe for loukanika was born.
How Loukanika is Made
Generally speaking, loukaniko is considered to be a pork sausage. However, when it is made in Greece, a lot depends on the type of meat that’s available. Recipes do differ slightly depending on the family and the region of Greece where the recipe is created. It is usually flavored with aromatic ingredients such as fennel seeds, orange peels, and other herbs. Some people use other vegetables, such as leeks, as part of their recipe. The overall result is a sausage that has a distinct tag to it without being hot. It is interesting to note that a version of this type of sausage can be found in countries like Italy, where it is referred to as Lucanica. However, the recipe is different and loukanika in Greece is a distinctly Greek creation.
Loukanika is Delicious as a Meze
Although traditional meze spreads can differ depending on the ingredients that are available, loukanika is one of the most popular choices. In Greece, it is customary to have at least one meat dish as part of a meze spread and if it is available, loukanika is a favorite choice. Some places in Greece use there traditional recipes to mix their own. However, this type of sausage is also widely available in the markets. You also don’t need to visit a restaurant in order to eat this dish as a meze or appetizer. It is just as common inside the home as it is when dining out. Meze are meant to be small dishes that are enjoyed while drinking and is a tradition that has its roots in Ancient Greece.
Sausage has been part of Greek cuisine since ancient times and even though the world for loukanika is derived from Italian, the recipe is distinctly Greek. It is certainly an important part of Greek cooking today. Here is a recipe for Loukaniko Gyros plus a recipe for Greek Loukaniko with Sausage, Peppers and Onions.
Categorized in: Greek Cooking
This post was written by Greek Boston