Good Eatin’ – Kaszanka and Icre

I am off to Krakow in a few weeks, which I am super excited about, and in this pre-holiday excitement (mixed with some gloriously sunny weather) I thought it was time for me to make a much needed visit to the local Polski Sklep the next town over.

My idea was to get some pierogi, bread, Silesian sausage and a big bottle of blue Fanta and then have a leisurely walk home via Wimpy. Instead I was able to pick up two things for the food list – both of them being things that I had never seen in the store before.

There was a real part of me that thought that maybe it would be better for me to wait until I was in Poland… but when I think of my fruitless quest to find Thuringer Leberwurst… well it just makes sense to eat these when I get the opportunity.

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Progress: 732/751Food item: Kaszanka

I bet that, when I get to Krakow, I am going to see kaszanka being cooked on every street corner. If I do, I think I’ll have to indulge once again as I can only imagine how excellent it will be to have one of these fresh off the grill and eat it in Krakow’s main square.

Much like morcilla, kaszanka is a type of blood sausage. What sets this apart is the use of buckwheat groats as a filler and the use of marjoram and black pepper as the main spices. Also, compared to morcilla, kaszanka has a slightly looser texture (although that could be a side effect of me cooking them until they exploded.

It’s a very meaty sausage with a  coarse grain. At times there is a strong aroma of the marjoram and at others a heat from the black pepper. All the time, however, you are getting a depth of meaty flavour from the with a strong meaty flavour from the mix of various pieces of pork offal and blood.

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Progress: 733/751Food item: Icre

Icre is pretty much an Eastern European taramasalata where a thickener is used to bulk it up as well as a different oil base (vegetable or sunflower instead of olive oil). It’s also worth noting that, in the book, the icre I needed to try was made from carp roe rather than pike roe – which works for me as carp roe icre was the only type I could find.

As someone who only likes taramasalata in small doses I wasn’t feeling the idea of spreading the icre on toast and eating a fair bit of it. However, I have to say that I liked this a lot more than any taramasalata that I have had. Sure, there is a similar taste profile but it just feels less greasy to eat because it’s been thickened into an almost moose.

I also enjoyed, at least in the version I had, the mix of whole carp eggs and whipped carp eggs. It made for a far more interesting texture that worked well when topped with some sliced black olives I still had in the fridge. Another thing I’d have again if I see it in Krakow, but I’m not entirely sure when those circumstances would occur…

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