The family of Alison Fragozo Moceri of the Fragozo meat company in New Bedford has been making linguiça for 75 years. She says that unlike other brands of linguiça on the market today, which appear to contain less fat, all the fat in Fragozo products is visible and can be popped out of the sausage for those who are watching their diets. Fragozo, Alison Moceri explains with pride, still chops their meat, unlike other companies who put it through a meat grinder, fat and all.
A word to the wise: When you cook with linguiça, do not be stingy. Even though a little linguiça goes a long way, be generous. One of the quickest ways to get dished to dirt in Provincetown is to invite someone over for a hearty bowl of kale soup only to have them discover that it is lacking in big chunks of the luscious sausage.
The Other Portuguese Sausages
Linguiça has a couple of cousins, chouriço and morcella, which are also very popular in Provincetown. Chouriço is like the chorizo that is well known to those familiar with the cuisine of Louisiana, Mexico and Spain. It is larger in diameter and much hotter than linguiça. Most Provincetown cooks use a little bit of both in their dishes, especially soups.
The other Portuguese sausage is morcella. Almost black in color, it is sometimes called blood pudding. Its primary ingredients are onions, beef blood, pork fat and seasonings. Morcella, like linguiça, is very popular on Provincetown-men-only hunting trips in the wilds of northern New England. Fried up with more onions and usually served with Boston baked beans, morcella is almost always washed down with buckets of beer. It is potent, producing great quantities of what Julia Child calls "the rooti-ti-toots." Morcella is not for the faint of heart.
Prior to air express and overnight postal service, tourists visiting Provincetown were unable to purchase linguiça, chouriço or morcella once they returned home. A linguiça taste-alike was created by Margaret H. Koehler in her book "Recipes from the Portuguese of Provincetown," published in 1973. In this book, Mrs. Koehler developed a recipe using pepperoni and Liquid Smoke to duplicate the taste of linguiça. Fortunately, linguiça is now only a telephone call away.
Alison Fragozo Moceri says that her family ships linguiça within one or two days all over the country. Aficionados of Portuguese cuisine can now obtain regular supplies of linguiça. Fragozo will send it UPS or via the postal service. Since the sausages are cooked and smoked, they can travel for a few days without spoiling.
Fragzo linguiça comes in the traditional rope form, as well as in linguiça loaf or linguiça franks. Fragozo is at 56 Davis St., New Bedford, Mass. 02746. Their telephone number is 1-(508) 992-9367.