You may never have heard of it, but one of the world's great sausages is right here, under your very nose.
It's the famous longaniza of the city of Valladolid in Yucatán. The L.A. version doesn't just pretend to be authentic. It's the real thing, vibrant with Yucatecan seasonings such as seasoned achiote paste, the spice blend called recado blanco and white vinegar.
A dazzling red, the long slim sausages are made once a week at Chichén Itzá, the Yucatecan restaurant in the Mercado La Paloma. Born in Yucatán, owner/chef Gilberto Cetina grew up with the flavor. His mother came from Valladolid, and he remembers watching as the sausages were made at home.
Chichén Itzá's longaniza includes beef, pork butt and pork fat ground together and mixed with the seasonings. Even more flavor comes as the sausages, in edible lamb casings, hang overnight to dry and absorb the smoke from mesquite coals.
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The most popular way to eat them is cut up and mixed with scrambled eggs--huevos con longaniza, which is on the menu at the restaurant. Cetina says the best way to eat this is to wrap the huevos in a tortilla with a dash of habanero salsa, red onion and black bean puree.
Other dishes with longaniza are paella, a weekly special; poc chuc (grilled pork); and mondongo a la andaluza, a beef tripe soup served on weekends.
Chichén Itzá also sells longaniza to take home, and it's worth the trip there to get it. 'No one else is making this," Cetina says. "It takes a lot of labor and experience."
Read more from Barbara Hansen at www.EatMx.com, www.TableConversation.com, @foodandwinegal and Facebook