WHO LOVES GRILLED MEATS? I see lots of raised hands out there so this blogpost is just for you. Ever have a SPIEDIE?? Well it’s time you did and they are extremely easy to make at home. They are an ItalianAmerican version of a typical skewered meat/poultry dish popular around the world, but in this fashion it’s typical of the Mediterranean version. SPIEDO is the Italian Word for KITCHEN COOKING SPIT. italian meats threaded on skewers in some fashion generally take the name Spiedini which has different regionalities to it depending on the location in Italy or Sicily.Maybe you’re familiar with SPIEDINI, the small rolls of filled meat/poultry threaded with onions and bay leaves, sometimes slices of Italian Bread. Or you’ve probably had the more well known Greek SOUVLAKIA which is REAL close to ItalianAmerican Spiedies with a few less marinade ingredients and the Greeks us TZATZIKI sauce and a Pita. Spiedies just get more of the marinade on them and can be rolled up into a slice of American White Bread or an Italian long roll.
So what makes these Mediterranean treats ItalianAmerican? Let’s go back to the old country for a moment. In the ABRUZZO region a popular dish is cubes of marinated skwered lamb called SPIDUCC’..or SPIDDUCCI. In True ITALIAN fashion each section of the ABRUZZO has local terms for this dish. ARROSTICINI, ‘RUSTELLE, ARRUSTELLE, all pretty much are the same thing. The term SPIEDIE though is pure ItalianAmerican. The cubes are marinated in a simple dressing of Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar (PUT DOWN THAT BALSAMIC!!! IT COMES FROM UMBRIA NOT THE ABRUZZO!! Lidia Bastianich says it best, foods from an area taste best when you use the ingredients from that area/region. Balsamic while delicious is not a substitute for all vinegar dishes, there, I’ve said it. I know, in America it’s used on everything. My purpose in blogging is to give you the real deal, or close to it. If you use balsamic, just don’t tell me LOL.), garlic or onion, peperoncino, salt, lemon juice, herbs like mint, oregano, basil, bay. The lamb cubes would be marinated for as long as possible, threaded onto metal skewers and slow roasted over hot coals. One of the world’s most popular ways of cooking meats yet still amazing wherever you have it. The American connection comes in via Ellis Island during the great Italian Immigration from 1880s-1930s. Many paesani from the Abruzzo settled in the area of Central New York State around Binghamton NY. As is the norm they brought with them dishes from their homeland and adapted them to the new surroundings. Lamb was first used but in the USA immigrants found ALL meats were easy to get and well priced so in true American fashion varieties of meats and poultry were used to make these Arrosticini or Spidducci which turned into the ItalianAmerican word, SPIEDIES. Legend hotly contests who the creator of the first one in a restaurant was and who had the first “sauce” for them, but the Iacovelli family of Endicott, NY near Binghamton in the 1920’s-1930’s gets the most credit. Plenty of other stories about who and what but that’s where an Italian regional dish made the jump into ItalianAmerican cuisine. These SPIEDIES were marinated in the cook’s version of SPIEDIE Sauce, and grilled, then with a piece of American White Bread (see, this is what makes things ItalianAmerican too) you roll the bread around the spiedie and pull it off into the bread. Instant SPIEDIE SANDWICH. Italian Rolls used also. Now let’s get your charcoal grill stoked and ready for grilling, or prep that gas grill and get this Summer on the road with a platter of SPIEDIES for your dining pleasure!!!
2 LBS MEDIUM CUBED MEAT/POULTRY..Pork, Lamb, Beef, Chicken, Turkey
1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup LEMON JUICE, not the bottled stuff, use fresh Lemons
1 cup RED WINE VINEGAR
1 TSP PEPERONCINO
3 finely minced GARLIC cloves
2 Bay Leaves
1 TSP CRUMBLED DRIED MINT OR
2 TSPS FRESH MINCED BASIL, not both
1 TSP MINCED FRESH PARSLEY
1 1/2 TSP DRIED OREGANO
you will need to make 2 batches of the marinade.
SALT and BLACK PEPPER, to taste (be generous with it)
LONG HEAVY DUTY WOODEN SKEWERS (soaked overnight in water), or METAL SKEWERS
Double the marinade recipe and blend well. Let this sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Now separate in equal amounts. Cover and reserve one batch for serving with the finished Spiedies. Add the meat to the other batch and make sure all the cubes are in the marinade. Add the squeezed cut lemons to the bowl and cover. Marinade in the fridge optimally overnight, or no less than 3 hours. Remove the marinating meat from the fridge and LET IT COME TO ROOM TEMPERATURE. Thread the cubes on the skewers, depending on the length of them make sure to leave some blank space at the tip and the end of the skewers. On a well oiled medium heat grill start cooking them lining them up without touching each other and give them at least 7 minutes per side, or more, esp with the chicken/turkey. You can rotate them a few times to get them more evenly grilled. Discard the first marinade and use a little of the 2d batch to baste certainly using a new bowl. Keep the rest of the marinade for serving with the finished dish. Remove the finished Spiedies from the grill and place on a platter. Have the extra Marinade and sliced bread or rolls handy to wrap around the SPIEDIES, PULL OFF, add more marinade and ENJOY. Makes enough for 6-8 servings.
In the Summer an Annual SPIEDIE FEST is held in Central NY…here’s the link:
Happy Cooking!!! Oh yes, you can buy Spiedie Sauce already made. Or not. Make your own.