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Celebrate Maltese sausage day the right way
Zalzett tal-Malti, the traditional fresh Maltese sausage, is just about as iconic and loved as local ġbejniet (cheeselets) and arguably even pastizzi (savoury pastries filled with ricotta or mushy peas).
We love Maltese sausage so much that we’ve dedicated the 30 of July to the delicious things. Well, not officially but it’s official in our hearts and in our stomachs.
Zalzett tal-Malti are made from ground pork, sea salt, crushed black peppercorns, coriander seeds, garlic and sometimes even a touch of parsley, and are a stable appearance in Maltese and Gozitan diets.
What’s the history behind the Maltese sausage?
There are, as many of us know, a number of junctures in which the development of local cuisine related to issues of identity. The most significant example is that of the Maltese stuffat tal-fenek, rabbit stew, which is often identified as the national dish. This particular dish is said to have started off as a symbolic form of resistance to the hunting restrictions imposed by the Knights of St John. The dish was then popularised when the restrictions were lifted in the late 18th century. By this time, the domestication of rabbits was frequent, the indigenous breed had multiplied and the prices dropped. The dish became rather popular after that.
With regards to pork, the popularity of the meat in various dishes, including the Maltese sausage, could be attributed to the fact that Malta was on the edge of the Christian world. Consuming pork, which is a taboo in the Muslim culinary culture, could have been a way of self-identification by distinguishing oneself from the other. In addition to pork dishes like stuffed flank or grilled pork cuts, the exclusive predominance of pork in indigenous Maltese sausages became common practice in the Maltese vernacular cuisine for centuries.
Now that we have covered the basics, we have penned a list of the ways in which we recommend you consume Maltese sausage today (and this weekend and possibly even the next) in order to celebrate our love and adoration for the dish.
Maltese sausage ftira
Served all over the Maltese islands, the magical combination of Maltese bread, ftira, and Maltese sausage has been the main source of joy of all those who consume it. The dish is known as ftira Għawdxija, due to the fact that it’s a speciality in Gozo (Għawdex). It resembles pizza, but is, dare we say it, even better.
Maltese sausage pasta
The Maltese sausage in this dish oozes flavour and can be prepared and cooked in 15 minutes. It includes Maltese sausage, rucola, oregano, cream, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, white or rose wine and some freshly ground pepper.
Scotch eggs with Maltese sausage
Scotch eggs are essentially boiled eggs wrapped in sausage meat, coated in breadcrumbs and then deep-fried or baked. This Maltese twist includes Maltese sausage meat, creating a dish that is as delicious as it is aesthetically pleasing.
Beef and Maltese sausage lasagne
Lasagne, the wide, flat pasta, is known to be one of the oldest types of pasta. It’s a traditional Italian dish, made of stacked layers of thin pasta, alternating with fillings. In this version of the dish, Maltese sausage, combined with beef ragù is added to the pasta layers.
Maltese sausage meatballs
Ground balls of meat, rolled into small balls, alongside other ingredients including bread crumbs, minced onions, eggs, butter and seasoning. These delicious Maltese sausage meatballs can then be steamed, fried, baked or braised in sauce.
How will you be celebrating the day?