Celery and Sausage Frittata
5 ounces Italian sausage, skinned and crumbled
1 cup chopped celery heart, including leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1. Lightly beat the eggs, stir in the sausage and celery and season lightly with the salt and pepper.
2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet, and pour in the mixture. Cook until the bottom is browned, and then put into a 400 degree oven.
3. Cook until the top browns and the frittata is cooked through, approximately 8 more minutes.
Recipe courtesy of Heather Atwood, Food For Thought, Gloucester Times, 2010.
The story of Trupiano’s Sausage, our beloved local charcuterie, is in some ways the story of Washington St., Gloucester. Trupiano’s Superette is no longer there; now it’s the Culina Cafe; Donut Jim’s moved around the corner; Ned’s gourmet market moved in. Ned’s left, and now Duckworths Beach Gourmet has filled that spot. Through all these changes, Trupianos sausage continues to be made at that elbow of Washington St. As Gloucester evolves, so do the shops at which we buy pasta, but Trupiano’s sausage keeps getting ground no matter who is paying the rent.
Food doesn’t get more local or authentic: The secret sausage recipe was said to be part of the deal when Mike bought Trupiano’s Superette sixteen years ago. Trupiano. Ciaramitaro, two cardinal Gloucester names producing what may be the most important, well-loved food item in this town after cod. I’m told that, for Sicillian Gloucester families, a holiday is not a holiday without Trupiano’s sausage. Mike Ciaramitaro says he makes 1800 - 2100 pounds of sausage at Christmas time, and stays up for three days straight grinding and encasing meat. He says his sausage has soothed homesick Gloucester residents as far as Japan, Egypt, London and Aruba.
Google it, and this is what you get:
“It’s the best sausage. When Trupianos closed, besides the beef cutlets the sausage was the next thing I really missed.”
“My family loves Trupiano's sausage. My parents swear that this is the best sausage EVER.” - testament to the zeal people have for these homemade links.
Mike didn’t start out a butcher, but honed his adulthood like many Gloucester kids - fishing on his father’s boat, the Vito C., a 96’ eastern rig. Mike fished with his father from 1976 - 1994, and then worked in his father’s store, a business that sold just about everything connected to the fishing industry including fish. Mike worked there for two years; the fishing industry was his skill, and cutting fish was what he knew best. So, when he decided it was time to go out on his own, a fish market made sense, but what was available? A butcher shop. Joe Trupiano was finally ready to sell his Washington St. butcher shop and grocery store, so Mike accepted a 90 day lesson from Joe in cutting meat.
In ninety days Mike learned to be a butcher (good burger is made with chuck roast put through a grinder three times to distribute the fat evenly), and how to prepare Trupianos popular chicken salad (chicken tenders, celery, salt and pepper, and mayonaise. Cains or Hellman’s? - Mike has no opinion.), octupus salad, speidini, rice balls, and the closely guarded recipe for Trupiano’s sausage.
Mike ran the business with his wife for fourteen years. When the grocery climate began to change, he closed Trupianos for good, believing his chicken salad and sausage-making days were over. Not so much. People started calling him in his home, begging him to make the sausage again. At that point Donut Jim’s was vacant, and Jim generously allowed Mike to use the kitchen to continue preparing his sausage for special customers. The building was empty, but there was Mike in the back grinding meat.
Soon after that Ned opened her chic groceria, a wine and pate kind of place. Still, Mike stayed on grinding sausage, offering it for sale beside the pate and imported prosciutto at Ned’s. When Ned closed her business, Ken Duckworth stepped into the Washington St. building. Now Mike makes his famous sausage for Duckworth’s Beach Gourmet.
See what I mean? Trupiano’s sausage is almost as solid and steady as the fisherman at the wheel.
The secret cannot be revealed, but you can see in the text there is nothing in the sausage except ground pork and seasonings. Mike wouldn’t call it “all-natural,” because he’s too practical to dwell on what’s NOT in the sausage, but there are no preservatives, nothing that ends in “trate.” The shelf life for Trupiano’s sausage is three days, so get to Duckworths Beach Gourmet, or see Mike at the Farmer’s Market Thursday afternoon, to be certain your Labor Day weekend is a real holiday.
Here is a simple recipe for a sausage and celery frittata. Like so many Italian recipes, the ingredient list is short but the results are delicious, particularly when your ingredients are the highest quality.