The bell has rung boys, finish your sporcamusses and get back to class, quickly!
Here, sit down, open your textbooks and start taking notes: today, Professor Mannarino takes you to a lesson in Marezzatura.
If you have to go to the toilet, raise your hand, questions, however, all at the end of the lesson, thank you.
Now that you are all in your seats, we can begin.
Meat marbling refers to the distribution of fat within the muscle tissue. Depending on the amount of fat and how it infiltrates between the fibres, the meat can take on marble-like textures or blotches more like parsley leaves.
But let's take a step back.
To better understand what the Mannarino tide is, let's start with the basics.
Mark this sentence in block letters in your diary: the higher the percentage of fatty tissue contained in meat, the higher the quality of the meat.
In fact, it is precisely those fat veins that can be seen on the meat that give it a unique taste and flavour from cut to cut.
The marbling, then, is nothing more than the infiltration and distribution of fat within the animal's muscle tissue. So, if it is true that it is the fat that is the tastiest part of the meat, you can well understand how crucial this process is to obtaining quality meat.
Beware, however, that a good fat distribution is not only a symbol of quality, it is also synonymous with good husbandry and quality feeding. So much so that the best marbling can only be found on strictly selected farms.
Are there any questions?
Perfect! Now that we have the basics, we can go one step further.
How can we orient ourselves when choosing meat according to the type of marbling?
Always bear in mind that butchery is an art that has a lot to do with science and must be subject to certain strict rules.
Based on the fat distribution in the meat, we can recognise different degrees of classification, as reported by the Ministry of Agriculture.
- Very poorwhen fat is only present inside the ribcage;
- Scarceif fat veins are only present in the intercostal muscles;
- Medium importancewhen high concentrations are present within the rib cage and intercostal muscles;
- Abundantif fat threads are clearly visible on the inner thigh and intercostal muscles;
- Very abundantfat is prominent everywhere and forms small, diffuse outlines all over the cut of meat.
But, having so much praised the quality of a well marbled meat, let us better understand to what its quality is really due.
Does this require short lessons in... chemistry?
Yes, and luckily Milan's most famous butcher is a specialist when it comes to meat, so be careful, concentrate and try not to get distracted because this is an important part that will be checked.
We have realised that a good marbling corresponds to quality meat. The reason is due to the fatwhich plays a key role in the cooking phase, giving it that aromatic taste and perfect texture. This is where things get trickier and we touch on a much broader subject that we will go into in more detail later in the programme: the cooking of meat.
Cooking meat is a very important process that serves to bring out all its flavour, but it is also a very delicate procedure. It is during cooking that the Maillard Reaction is triggered, a series of complex phenomena that occur as a result of the interaction of sugars and proteins during cooking at high temperatures.
Cooking temperatures of around 140° are required for the reaction to take place. If the surface on which the meat will be cooked is not hot enough, the reaction will fail and we will be forced to cook our meat for much longer than necessary, risking ruining it.
Luckily for you, this is not a classroom at the Polytechnic, so we'll stop with the chemistry here; the only thing we need to know is that the result of this reaction leads to the dissolution of the fat that makes up the marbling and, therefore, to the exaltation of the taste of meatwhich now has a stronger, more aromatic taste.
Well, if you have been paying attention now, marbling should have no more secrets for you.
Always be wary of cuts that are too lean, choose the best steaks and remember to consult your trusted butcher: Mannarino will always advise you on the most suitable marbling.
Class is almost over, mark your homework for next week: reprocessing and write a 600-word essay on the origin of bowler hats!
The bell saved you from the surprise assignment, but see you again on 9 June.
In fact, we are going back to school with the Il Mannarino Academy!
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