Monday, September 19, 2011

Part 8c - The Food of Köln

Köln definitely has its own regional character - the accent, words used, the beer, and the food.

Earlier this month, I described our incredibly delicious meal of raw pork, called Hackepeter, in Wollnitz. When we went to Köln, we noticed that people were eating something similar on crusty rolls. I crudely translated part of our food menu at Gaffel and found that they serve something called "Mett" - ground raw pork seasoned with salt & pepper spread onto bread and topped with minced onion.

Sounds gross, right?

It was amazing! The texture was incredible - soft and slightly chewy, much like cured salmon or tuna sashimi. If you're ever in Köln (or the area) and see Mett on the menu, order it. Raw pork sounds pretty awful, but it's quite the opposite. And I'm rather disappointed it's not more popular here.
Mett for lunch at Gaffel

I also noted a couple of other regional specialties. One was "Kaviar", blood sausage with onions & pickles. The other was "Himmel und Äd", which is blood sausage, mashed potatoes, and applesauce. I tried Kaviar and really liked it as well, but preferred the mett.
"Kaviar" with a side salad.  Germans aren't too big on greens.

You can make your own Mett at home. I know, I know, bacteria etc. The key is grinding the meat yourself. NEVER eat raw meat that was already ground when you bought it. If you don't wnat to do this with pork, try it with beef... you'll be making steak tartare, and some great instructions on the process are over on Michael Ruhlman's blog.

Once you've ground/diced the meat (again, see the link to Ruhlman's blog above), dice up some onion (very small dice) and mix it into the meat along with a liberal dose of salt & pepper. You can add some mace, caraway, and/or marjoram if you want, but I don't believe the Mett we had was seasoned with anything other than salt & pepper.

Spread this on a crusty dinner roll or a piece of toast (rye would be excellent for this). Alternately, shape a mound onto a plate, create a little divet in the top, and crack a raw egg onto the top (wash the shell off first), then spread onto toast. I know, sounds disturbing, but it's so delicious. Really, it is.

If you want to try this without making it yourself, bluestem serves wagyu steak tartare on their lounge menu. It's half-price Tues - Fri during happy hour (5-7; 5-6:30 on Fridays), and steak tartare for $6 is a steal.

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Tasting Notes