Snarlers. They are just one of life’s basic, non-negotiables like lipstick, sex and shelter. The secret to making a good sausage, like a good terrine, is in the perfect combination of meat, fat and salt. I like bangers coarsely not finely minced, they should have a bit of fat, some onions or shallots, maybe some spices and herbs if you want and crispy skins made from gut. The use of nitrite in sausage is good because it makes them so much safer to eat, as well as being more attractive and pinker to look at. They should have no other preservatives, additives or bread crumbs (or not too many) and you can make them from anything you like – chicken, fish, seafood, vegetables, offal, pork, beef, lamb etc. Actually you can make your own at home. If you can’t be bothered fussing with gut and a stuffing machine, just shape them and roll them in bread crumbs.
If you’re not going to make them yourself, good sausages come from a good butcher and to be a good butcher is an art which needs to be supported by you and I. A good butcher has to buy good meat, treat it with respect and cut it into joints that are attractive, useful and waste nothing. A good butcher doesn’t pre-package their meat, doesn’t cover it in plastic and doesn’t disguise it in ghastly sauces and terrifying marinades. They hang their meat properly, are helpful when you ask for something different and label product carefully with as much information as possible. They also have to have a fabulous personality, love their job and call you every time they make a new sausage you need to experiment with.
One of my favourite sausages of the snarler type, are the long, peppery Cumberland sausages which are great curled, baked and served with mashed potatoes and gravy. Italian pork and fennel ones are heavenly – blanch for a few minutes then fry or grill. Cotechino sausage is made from pork and pork rind, giving it a gelatinous texture. It is flavoured with cloves and cinnamon and needs to be simmered for at least two hours but it is absolutely worth the trouble. A combination of these three or more – on a large platter in the middle of the table is the best thing to happen to any group of people. Bangers love holding hands with Dijon mustard and warm, sliced potatoes drizzled with olive oil and finely chopped shallots. Bon appetit!