What is lampredotto and why do we call it that?
We’ll concede that if you’re vegetarian or have very refined tastes, a lampredotto panino isn’t going to seem like your cup of tea. But if you want to taste something truly delicious and special, then yes, you really need to try this.
As you may know, lampredotto is made with the innards of a cow—specifically, with the abomasum, one of the quarters of the stomach. It gets boiled with various herbs to make it tender and well seasoned. Next it’s cut roughly and then placed on sandwich bread, which in turn gets dipped into the broth to make it all even more flavorful. To taste, you can add the traditional green sauce—or if you’re a purist, just go with simple salt and pepper.
What you might not know is the origin of its name. It seems to derive from a type of fish resembling an eel: the lampreda (lamprey). Despite its rather disconcerting appearance, in the past it was considered a real gourmet dish, served on the plates of nobles.
The everyday Florentine population obviously did not have access to such a sophisticated dish, so they invented an alternative. Ultimately the aesthetic so closely resembled that strange mouth of the fish that they decided to give it a similar name… but something that goes down a little easier, let’s say:lampredotto.