Two aspects of our life in Venice led to this recipe: There are eighty-two steps from ground level to our floor (our sixteenth-century house has no elevator), and the telephone is always ringing, announcing visitors. One day the call came late in the afternoon, and the only time we were free to see the callers was immediately. I had nothing in the house to serve with drinks and, having been out several times that morning, I felt running down to the shops—and back up—was out of the question. The only thing the refrigerator offered was mortadella, the Italian sausage. To serve it as I found it, sliced, seemed unsuitable, so I processed it into a foam, mixed it with chopped pickles, and presented it over rounds of good but tender bread. It was so warmly received that it has since become a fixed part of our welcome.
With wine or other apéritifs, along with or in place of Walnuts in Parmesan Butter. It can also be an appealing addition to a buffet.
© 1986 Marcella Hazan estate. All rights reserved.