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Lampredotto is a typical Florentine peasant dish, made from the fourth and final stomach of a cow, the abomasum. "Lampredotto" is derived from the Italian word for lamprey eels, lampreda---once very abundant in the waters of the Arno River---as the tripe resembles the inside of the mouth of a lamprey in shape and color. It consists of a thin part, the gala, and a fat part, the spannocchia. The gala is characterized by small, purple ridges (called gate) with a strong flavor. The spannocchia instead has a more subtle color and softer taste. Customers may ask a lighter version of the sandwich by ordering a sbucciato, which is prepared by removing the spannocchia. Purists do not consider the sbucciato version as a true lampredotto sandwidch.
It is cooked in water along with tomato, onion, parsley and celery, and then served, usually on a crusty bun that has been dipped in the cooking broth, with a choice of salt and pepper, parsley green sauce and hot chilli sauce.
Lampredotto is still widespread in the city because of the presence of many stalls of the so-called lampredottai or 'sellers of lampredotto'.
Lampredotto was originally a poor person's and workman's sandwich. In the 15th century, there were already lunch places in buildings that sold the tripe. By the 19th century, the cooked tripe was sold from painted wooden carts, pushed by hand and later, attached to bicycle mechanisms to pedal them about.
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