I began my travels thru Brazil at the country’s most cosmopolitan city, São Paulo. São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil with a population of 20 million. Over the last two centuries, in search of a better future, São Paulo has seen the arrival of different cultures and the result has been an explosion of cuisines and ingredients.
I was told the Municipal Market was the place to visit, with over 12,000 square meters, inside a majestic building, once military headquarters during the Revolution and now dedicated to food. I met up with Mauricio Schuartz and was taken to Bar do Mane to meet William Loureirothe, 4th generation head chef, and try his specialty, the Mortadella Sandwich.
Mortadella is an Italian cured meat made of finely hashed or ground, heat-cured pork sausage with loads of spices. William’s dish wasn’t your standard sandwich; this Mortadella monster was packed with 400g of meat. I asked him, why so big?
Williams' response was that in the 1970's customers complained that there was hardly any meat in their sandwiches. Finally, one day when a customer, unsatisfied, returned for more food, the shop owner retaliated by making him a sandwich with 400g of Mortadella! If the knowledge that most red-blooded humans are wild and serious about their meat had been widespread at all back in the 70’s as it is now, this still may have been the best business move or could’ve been the worst, easily. The fully packed, robust giant, otherwise known the Mortadella sandwich, attracted major attention from passing customers and by 1979 the sandwich had become famous, as it made headlines in newspapers. Now this sandwich is the star of their stall.
When I bit into the sandwich, I immediately noticed the difference from the usual Italian-style. Because of the availability of cattle in Brazil, the Bar do Mane variation is actually made from a mixture of pork and beef.
This was a beast of sandwiches! The biggest sandwich I had ever seen! What Brazilians have done is taken a classic Italian ham sandwich and given it their own twist... And I’ve got a great idea to bend this big baby into my own!
My Mortadella Pasty
For the filling:
- 500 grams leftover pork belly, cut into two rectangles
- 2 thick slices mature cheddar cheese
- 8 slices Mortadella ham
- 2 tbsps American mustard
For the pastry:
- 200 grams cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 300 grams plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 2 egg yolks
First make the pastry. Combine the flour and butter in a bowl and add enough cold water to bring the mixture together to form a rough dough.
Turn the pastry out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently to form a rough ball. Flatten slightly then wrap in cling film and chill for one hour.
Roll the dough out to the thickness of a pound coin and cut out two 20cm discs. Lay a piece of pork on one edge of a pastry disc, cover with a piece of cheese then top with the ham.
Spoon some mustard over the top then repeat with the other pastry disc and filling.
Brush the edge of the pastry with egg yolk then fold over to seal. Pinch and fold the edges to crimp then transfer to a baking tray. Brush with egg yolk then chill for 30 minutes until firm.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 50 to 60 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving.