Arrosticini are skewers of cubed lamb meat cooked over charcoal and are a specialty of the Abruzzo region of Italy. Historically, arrosticini were prepared by shepherds on the move. Now they can be found at many festivals in the region, at social gatherings, conference lunches and some restaurants.
Most of the foods that we grew up with reflected the ethnic identity of our grandparents. On our father’s side, Anglo-Celtic and German, and on our mother’s side Italian (Abruzzese). But our Italian grandfather was from the coast and never really liked the taste of sheep meat. So, my first discovery of arrosticini was at a restaurant on Lungomare Roma in Roseto degli Abruzzi – Lo Spizzico – which my sister and I visited in 2010 with our cousin Walter.
On my next visit to Abruzzo I was pleased to have more of these tasty lamb morsels at lunch one day while attending Let’s Blog Abruzzo 2013.
My husband is an afficianado of cooking over charcoal and when I suggested we get some lamb from our butcher, he was keen. After all, it’s summer in Australia and open BBQ season. Our garden was, and still is, ripe with juicy tomatoes and fragrant basil for an accompanying salad of locally made buffalo mozzarella, salted capers and peppery rocket (arugula).
Adelaide’s mediterranean climate provides us with a variety of excellent local olive oils and wines to match with any meal. Once the lamb was skewered and sizzling over the coals, the biggest giveaway that we weren’t in Abruzzo was that we don’t have a proper arrosticini grill. We substituted our little Weber charcoal grill. Our cut of meat was probably slightly leaner that in Abruzzo but Andrew ensured all the cubes of meat were small enough and evenly cut so as to cook evenly without drying out and added a drizzle of oil to each.
With summer still here for some time, we will be enjoying many more ‘arrosticini days’.