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Capozzelli di Angnelli, Italian lamb's head

Capozzelli di Angnelli, Italian lamb's head
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  • Capozzelli di Angnelli, Italian lamb's head

    Post #1 - November 29th, 2005, 9:33 pm
    Post #1 - November 29th, 2005, 9:33 pm Post #1 - November 29th, 2005, 9:33 pm
    When I want thin crust pizza in my neighborhood, Armand's in Elmwood Park is my go-to place. I won't even bother to describe it in this holiday season, wishing to stay out of the pizza fray. Try it yourself. It has been briefly but favorably twice mentioned here:

    http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.ph ... ands#30071

    http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.ph ... ands#15321

    While looking at their menu on line, I was intrigued by an item under "Steaks and Chops" for "capozzelli di angnelli (call 2 hours in advance)" without further description. Google translator did not help.

    Returning to the website I perused the review section where I found a quote by Pat Bruno:

    Combining the sum of all parts though Armand's can be a delightful dining experience, especially if you like to explore some of the more arcane areas of Italian food. One such dish is the capozzelli di angnelli, or lamb's head, which, according to our waitress, "is ordered frequently by some groups."


    Now gentle readers, as much as I think I'm willing to take one for the team, this assignment is not for me. When I mentioned it to Mrs Ramon, she said, "Don't do it. You'll take one bite and puke." I'd like to protest, tell her she's wrong, throw things at her, bellow at the top of my lungs ... but she's usually right.

    Ok, dear feeders, you have a challenge set before you. Should you choose to ignore it, I will be forced to take up the quest. I guarantee graphic photos of the dish and consequences. Spare us all. For the love of humanity ....

    Armand's Restaurant
    7400 W. Grand Ave
    Elmwood Park, IL
    708-456-5200
    http://www.armandspizzeria.com/
    (Other locations in Elmhurst and St. Charles. Menus may vary.)

    -ramon
  • Post #2 - November 29th, 2005, 11:29 pm
    Post #2 - November 29th, 2005, 11:29 pm Post #2 - November 29th, 2005, 11:29 pm
    This sounds good actually. If it is the head, as in the meat off the skull (as in cabeza tacos) it should be tasty. If not and it is a preparation of brains it should be very tasty. :)
    I hope to see the reports soon!
  • Post #3 - November 30th, 2005, 3:59 am
    Post #3 - November 30th, 2005, 3:59 am Post #3 - November 30th, 2005, 3:59 am
    Ragazzi!

    An interesting find, Ramon. No wonder, though, that you couldn't find anything on line since a) the forms you got from Armand's were spelt wrong and b) even if one spells everything correctly (insofar as one can with dialect forms), there isn't much on the web about this dish. I've mentioned it here on LTH at least once, as one of a number of distinctive dishes my family consumed back in the day. Ecco:

    http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?p=36890#36890

    As I remember it, it's both head meat and brains with an eyeball to boot. The head is cloven in two and baked in the oven. Precise details on the recipe I don't have on the tip of my tongue, as it were, but I shall endeavour to find a properly traditional recipe (i.e., not capuzzella with mango salsa), if not from one of my clan, than from some of my further culinary contacts in Italy.

    By the way, it's (at least to my mind) capuzzella and it can be either d'agnello (lamb's head, which is what my grandmother made) or di capretto (kid's head, which is also popular in the zone whence my family mostly comes, namely, Southern Lazio / Northern Campania). It's surely increasingly out of fashion these days but is known throughout Southern Italy by more or less the same name, I believe; anyway, a good friend of mine whose family hails from Catania in Eastern Sicily refers to the dish by the same name as we do.

    The form capozzello strikes my ear as the masculine of an adjective (more properly capuzziello, meaning 'arrogant' and 'headstrong', something along those lines in any event. But so far as I know, the noun meaning 'little head' used for this dish is feminine: capuzzella.

    This dish is admittedly 'exotic' nowadays but really quite emblematic of the old cuisine. I must say, I'm quite proud of the cultural conservatism of my family that kept this and other such dishes in the repertoire for so long... And we still haven't succumbed to the Americanised take on Italian cooking that is generally preferred in these parts. Certainly, cuisines moved to new contexts for the most part inevitably and naturally evolve (or at least change) and, no matter what, as always, to each his own, but the old, 'sober' and even poor style of cooking (la cucina povera) is excellent and deserves to be remembered and maintained to some degree at least.

    Maybe we should have a festa 'e capuzella at Armand's, no? Or perhaps a test kitchen session for Guts-N-Such: tripa, capuzzella, suffritto, stigghiole...

    8)

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #4 - November 30th, 2005, 6:40 am
    Post #4 - November 30th, 2005, 6:40 am Post #4 - November 30th, 2005, 6:40 am
    About 8 years ago, I vistited a friend who was studying in Paris. He was staying with a 80-year-old French woman who regularly kept herself company with foreign students. She was so excited to have young foreigners come to visit, she would often feed us wonderful extravagant meals "in the old style". We'd sit around the table and she'd tell us countless stories about anything that came to mind.

    One day, I could smell dinner cooking and I asked what we were having. She replied, " tête du mouton", and opened the oven to reveal a rather large sheep head, partially cloven, staring at me. I found this exciting, as it reminded me of a recent trip to Jerusalem where I watched Arab women select goat heads from a basket, all the time wondering "what are they going to do with them?".

    When the tête finally made it to the table, it was served as rich, savory small chunks of meat along with a bowl of white rice and a pan gravy. It was absolutely delicious. I found myself pulling remaining bits of meat from the head carcass in the kitchen with chunks of bread.

    I can't imagine that this dish, which she described as an "old country dish that her mother made", is significantly different from a Southern Italian or Sicilian version (other than the obvious lamb vs. sheep choice). I believe she said that she often served potatoes rather than rice, but that night, she felt like rice.

    Thank you for the post. I would love to try this dish at Armand's. I hardly consider this "taking one for the team", unless of course, it's terrible. Perhaps an Armand's feast is in order.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #5 - November 30th, 2005, 8:18 am
    Post #5 - November 30th, 2005, 8:18 am Post #5 - November 30th, 2005, 8:18 am
    A number of years ago, a Spanish friend of mine invited me over for dinner with a number of his visiting family from the Teruel area of Spain. I remember going to the old butcher shop at Halstead and Grand with an old sign somewhere on the building that read something like, "freshly killed sheep, goats, and lamb". We procured a side of lamb with the head and threw it in his car trunk.
    When we got to his house, I recall my friend saying something to the effect of " if I were to do it all over again, I would be either an orthopedic surgeon or a butcher" while sharpening his knife before dismembering the animal in a most precise and meticulous way. His mother brushed the lamb’s teeth with a toothbrush as we worked on the butchering nearby.

    Anyway, all I really remember about the dinner that night was how his visiting Spanish relatives fought over who would be the lucky ones to partake of the bisected head.
    I don't think that I have ever been taken aback by anything I've ever seen another person eat. But it just so happened that I was saddled at the table that night by the two victors. I think I found my examination of their plates to be more intriguing than disgusting at the time.

    eatchicago wrote: I hardly consider this "taking one for the team", unless of course, it's terrible. Perhaps an Armand's feast is in order.



    I fully agree, Michael. If we don't do this outing, I'll always be wondering what the hell I missed that night.
  • Post #6 - November 30th, 2005, 11:35 am
    Post #6 - November 30th, 2005, 11:35 am Post #6 - November 30th, 2005, 11:35 am
    Somewhat off subject (somewhat), the other night we stopped at the City Fresh Market at Devon and Kedzie--a market in the realm of the new interesting stores popping up all over (cf Cermak Produce, Carnercia Guantajunto, any of the "Fresh Markets"), but not quite as good, IMO as A&G. Anyways, in the same display case as the roasted chickens was one solo goat/lamb head, appearing to have been cooked in same rotissiere. I have no idea if there were others there earlier in the day (and hence sold). Yes, eyeballs were included.

    I've liked Armands but found it slightly expensive for its product, keeping me from going too often. For instance, I've found the food at nearby (for me) Jimmy's or Salerno's better values. Still, this sounds very interesing and I should give the place another shot. Let me know if there is an outing organized.

    Rob
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #7 - November 30th, 2005, 1:06 pm
    Post #7 - November 30th, 2005, 1:06 pm Post #7 - November 30th, 2005, 1:06 pm
    Reminds me of a fond memory - a high school dance where, pre-gym, our group of couples went to the Parthnenon for dinner. Don't remember what I had, but I do remember, and have the pictures to prove it (pre-digital, sorry), my friend Ethan finding a head of some sort (lamb or goat - guessing the former) on the menu and coming through with the order, much to his date's dismay.

    He and I picked at it and I remember being somewhat impressed with the tender morsels of meat, mostly located in the cheek and what would have been the back of the neck. Less impressed with the eyes. Don't know if it is still on the menu there, but I would bet that it is somwhere in Greektown . . .

    Leading to a more recent experience. For, little did I know, the high school dance experience would foreshadow an Orthodox Easter party ten years later where, after the lamb from the spit was dismantled and finger-lickingly devoured, the head was passed around with the eyes and then brain taken as prize bites. I was (un)fortunate enough to get a spoonful of the brain, which had the consistency of peanut butter and just a slightly pungeant, smoky taste. It's been about a year and a half and I still sometimes have flashbacks of the feeling of it clinging to the roof of my mouth.
  • Post #8 - November 30th, 2005, 4:14 pm
    Post #8 - November 30th, 2005, 4:14 pm Post #8 - November 30th, 2005, 4:14 pm
    A simple way to make capuzzelle (lamb or goat heads) is to split them, leaving the brain, eyes, and tongue in place. Rub the heads with a mixture of olive oil, chopped oregano or rosemary, salt, and pepper, then set them in a roasting pan, eyes up, and roast at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes. I think this is how Armand's does them.

    In Puglia, capuzzelle are made in a pot with potatoes or eggplant and seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and oregano. They are cooked more slowly and at a lower temperature, I believe.
  • Post #9 - November 30th, 2005, 4:25 pm
    Post #9 - November 30th, 2005, 4:25 pm Post #9 - November 30th, 2005, 4:25 pm
    Choey wrote:A simple way to make capuzzelle (lamb or goat heads) ...


    Mille grazie per la bellissima ricetta!

    A
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #10 - November 30th, 2005, 5:10 pm
    Post #10 - November 30th, 2005, 5:10 pm Post #10 - November 30th, 2005, 5:10 pm
    I can't find this posted on the events board :?:
    Unchain your lunch money!
  • Post #11 - November 30th, 2005, 6:03 pm
    Post #11 - November 30th, 2005, 6:03 pm Post #11 - November 30th, 2005, 6:03 pm
    pdaane wrote:I can't find this posted on the events board :?:


    Peter, it's only on the secret "special access only events board"; or didn't you know about that?

    :D :P :wink:

    ***

    As I mentioned above, details of my grandmother's preparation of this dish I don't know (still need to ask my folks) and I haven't been able to find any detailed descriptions in my usual, newer sources. But then, after reading the nice recipes offered by Choey, it suddenly occurred to me to poke around a little further in some of the older, less frequently visited volumes of my cookbook collection (odd that that didn't occur to me sooner... :? ... getting older, I guess)...

    Anyway, to be added to the ones Choey offered above, I found one in an old Mondadori book, which offers a version from Basilicata. This recipe calls for the head being dressed in a combination of bread crumbs, grated pecorino, chopped parsley, garlic, oil; one bakes it for an hour at 150-170º C/300-325º F and serves it with lemon. This recipe calls for the half-head being placed cut side up.

    Sounds good to me.

    Antonius

    P.S. Choey: was capuzzella in your family's repertoire?
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #12 - November 30th, 2005, 6:35 pm
    Post #12 - November 30th, 2005, 6:35 pm Post #12 - November 30th, 2005, 6:35 pm
    A, they were an obligatory course at family Easter dinners when I was a child, but eating them was not compulsory (for the kids). The adult male silverbacks at table ate them with visible enthusiasm, relish and gusto, if not flatware.
  • Post #13 - November 30th, 2005, 8:13 pm
    Post #13 - November 30th, 2005, 8:13 pm Post #13 - November 30th, 2005, 8:13 pm
    Image
    (photo found Googling)
    from Extremadura, Spain

    What kind of wine goes best with lamb's head?

    -ramon
  • Post #14 - December 1st, 2005, 8:41 am
    Post #14 - December 1st, 2005, 8:41 am Post #14 - December 1st, 2005, 8:41 am
    Ramon wrote:Image
    (photo found Googling)
    from Extremadura, Spain

    What kind of wine goes best with lamb's head?

    -ramon


    I'm guessing something with a good nose 8)
    "Beer is proof God loves us, and wants us to be Happy"
    -Ben Franklin-
  • Post #15 - May 10th, 2009, 4:53 pm
    Post #15 - May 10th, 2009, 4:53 pm Post #15 - May 10th, 2009, 4:53 pm
    This is one of the great culinary secrets of "Lost Italian Recipes"
    below I have provided a gift of one of the recipes in my latest Cook Books going into print soon.

    My father first introduced "Capozell" as he used to call it from a little Italian restaurant in N.J. before he himself entered the restaurant business.

    I used to love to go to this place because at 11 yrs old I loved eating the Linguine with white clam sauce they made, that took me years to later master as a Chef myself.

    To look at the lamb's head on a platter seems more reminiscent of a scene from a Godfather movie.
    However, after my father put a little of the face meat on a fork and told my to try it...
    squinting I reluctantly opened my mouth... as my mouth closed... I immediately tasted garlic, rock salt, oregano and slight hint of black pepper. The meat was the single most tender piece of meat I had ever tasted!

    Being so enthused and much less reluctant, I was willing to be more adventurous when he offered a fork of the brain. Again, the garlic, butter, olive oil, rock salt, oregano and black pepper flavored meat melted in my mouth.

    After that, it was nothing short of a rugby scrum trying to get at the rest of it.

    Subsequent visits to this restaurant I ordered my own.

    A key secret to this recipe is that the head must come fresh from the butcher....never frozen...NEVER!

    Serve with a side of pasta or polenta topped with butter.

    AMAZING!!!

    Never judge a book by its cover, or lamb's head by its looks.
    Capozzelli di Angnelli (Italian lamb's head)
    Serves 1-2

    Ingredients
    1 Lamb's head, skinned and cleaned (not frozen! Fresh from butcher whole, or cut in half and tied back together with twine while parboiling)
    1 stick of butter (melted or preferably room temperature)
    ⅓ cup Olive oil
    3-4 Cloves garlic, finely chopped
    1½ teaspoon crushed oregano or dried oregano rubbed in your hands until powder.
    ½ teaspoon Kosher, Rock or coarse Sea Salt
    ½ teaspoon Freshly ground pepper
    ¼ cup red or white wine (I prefer white like a chardonnay because it reduces nicely)

    Remove eyes and tongue of lamb's head.
    Parboil lamb’s head and tongue fully submerged in pot of boiling salted water covering head for 10 minutes.

    Leave tongue to simmer tongue for 20-30 minutes longer in salted water; remove, run under cold water, remove the outer tongue skin.

    Return tongue to lamb's mouth. Make a marinade by combining Butter (½ the amount), Olive oil (½ the amount), red wine, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper ingredients; pour over head while warm and marinate for 1 hour, turning occasionally.

    Bake in a 325F oven for 1 1/2 hours, basting and turning over every 20-30 minutes.
    Remove from oven and turn oven broiler on high.
    Take the remaining butter (melted) and olive oil with a minced clove of garlic, salt and splash of wine mixed together. Pour half of this mixture onto the head put into the broiler about 6 inches from flame for about 5-10 minutes until minced garlic becomes lightly browned, turn over put the remaining mixture. Again until lightly browned.
    Place on a bed of parsley, risotto or spaghetti of your choice. Decorate with flower petals.
    I prefer spaghetti with pesto sauce in fork rolls* and steamed Asparagus.
    *(spaghetti rolled up in little rolls with a fork and placed on the dish)
    Excellent with fresh lightly toasted garlic bread.

    Goes well with any homemade Italian wine or chardonnay, pinot grigio or if you must have your red wine, pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon. Chianti would be too astringent for this dish.

    ©Copyright. All Rights Reserved Chef Dominic Masut – MangoMonkey Foods
    Last edited by Chef Dom on June 7th, 2009, 5:19 pm, edited 4 times in total.
    Always be true to the cuisine! ©Copyright. All Rights Reserved Chef Dominic Masut – MangoMonkey Foods
  • Post #16 - May 10th, 2009, 6:26 pm
    Post #16 - May 10th, 2009, 6:26 pm Post #16 - May 10th, 2009, 6:26 pm
    HI,

    How many people does your recipe serve?

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #17 - May 10th, 2009, 7:56 pm
    Post #17 - May 10th, 2009, 7:56 pm Post #17 - May 10th, 2009, 7:56 pm
    Sorry! I it serves two (1/2 head per person) with other accompaniments like pasta and garlic bread.
    or if you are really hungry, 1 whole head per person. Since there is not a lot of meat comparatively for the overall size.

    I will amend that now.

    Thank you.

    Chef Dom
    Always be true to the cuisine! ©Copyright. All Rights Reserved Chef Dominic Masut – MangoMonkey Foods

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