Frisse Close relatives of the Grive

November 18, 2022

In the poor cuisine of the past in Monferrato and the Langa, during Carnival, one could be lulled by the idea of savoring a noble, palace dish. The frisse, in fact, in their composition of meat, spices and scents, were an exquisite niche delicacy that was an exception to the rule like other recipes that were perhaps prepared two or three times a year, to mark important events.

We offer here their recipe, ideal as an appetizer and eaten together with other typical Piedmontese fritto misto foods such as batsoa.


Moderately fatty intercostal pork
400 g
Pork liver
200 g
100 g
Grated Parmesan cheese
80 g
Egg yolk
Juniper berries
Salt and pepper
Omentum of pork (risèla or retìna) or cabbage
Olive oil and butter
In equal parts for frying
1 shot glass


On a cutting board, chop the meat (the thigh is also fine) and pork liver with a sharp crescent; then add the crumbled sausage paste, grated Parmesan cheese, crushed juniper berries, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Mix these ingredients together once; then season with salt and pepper, add the egg yolk and knead again. With your hands make balls the size of walnuts and wrap them in the pork caul.

If you do not have the caul, take cabbage leaves passed in boiling water for a few minutes and line the meat nut with them, helping yourself with a toothpick if necessary.

Cook them over moderate heat in a pan with oil and butter; at the end of cooking, liven them up with a splash of gin, which you will allow to be completely absorbed. If you used cabbage, the gin is not needed.


These frisse lamorresi are close relatives of grive (in which, however, no sausage appears), but softer because they are slightly fattier.

The frisse of yesteryear (it may be that their origin is post-Renaissance) also contained lung, heart and brains; the recipe I present, however, I got from Michele Brandino, a second-generation charcuterie maker (who, to tell the truth, before he closed store in the late 1991s, no longer put sausage in his frisse, but only two-thirds intercostal meat and one-third liver).

The extra advice

If you also want to add the lung and heart, remember to boil them before mixing them with the other ingredients. The frisse balls can be served three or four per plate on a salad leaf or Savoy cabbage. They also make up one of the many pieces of fritto misto langarolo.