What is capozella?

Updated: 12/24/2022
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12y ago

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Italian for Lamb's or Sheep's Head. It can also be made with goats head.

Typically boiled then dusted with bread crumbs and baked.

It is eaten with a squeeze of lemon and a turn of sea salt.

It was once proudly served at Puglia's Restaurant in Little Italy up until the late 80's and now served at their Staten Island location on Thursday nights.

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Q: What is capozella?
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How do you cook capozella?

Like most foods, there are many methods based on region. Capozella, sheep's head, was once a peasant food and now a delicacy in many cultures. That said I will give you the Napolitano Recipe: Lamb, Sheep, Goat's head - split lengthwise ( and horns removed re: Goat) For the Boil: one Lemon - sliced thin 10 sprigs parsley Small onion - quartered 5 peel garlic cloves kosher salt (3tbs for boil) Water to cover For the Breading: 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs 1/2 tsp salt few turns black pepper (herbs - fresh use heaping or dry use level) 1/2 tsp fresh parsley 1/2 tsp thyme 1/2 tsp oregano olive oil For the table: Lemon wedges Sea Salt Clean the Capozella: If not already done by your butcher (best choice) Split the capozella lengthwise. This can be done with a large clever, a hard swing and great aim or use a mallet to drive your clever if you're not a Joe DiMaggio in the kitchen. Comb over the halves and remove any remnants of the hide, pay close attention around the nose, ears and sinuses. Check the back of the throat for remnants of the wind pipe and remove. Take some kosher salt and rub the halves vigorously and leave on a tilted cutting board to drain into the sink for 5min. Rinse of salt. In a large enough pot place capozella, cover with cold water plus 3-4 inches throw in 3 tbs salt, lemon, parsley, onion and garlic. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. simmer for 30-45min skimming the pot as the foam forms. Drain let cool until you can handle by hand. Baking: pre-heat oven to 375. Place Halve cut side up on a shallow baking sheet. Mix breading ingredients. Carefully lift brain from cavity and dredge in breading, replace in cavity. Coat cut side with 1/8" of breading, drizzle with olive oil. place on middle rack in oven and bake for 45 min or until breading brown. Serve hot with lemon, salt and lots of napkins. Eating the capozella can be a daunting task for the un-initiated. My Method: Scoop the brain and spread on toasty garlic bread. With a knife start at the tongue, then flip over and attack the cheeks, generously squeezing lemon and dusting salt all along as you go. Now it's time to use your hands - pull the jaw apart and pull off all that succulent meat from the inside area. You can eat pretty much everything but the actual bone and sinuses, all the cartilage should be very soft, according to lore, is good for arthritis. Now the Eye question - should you or should you? If you choose to, take a fork and slip it between the socket and the eye, fishing it underneath, lever it out. with your knife, quarter it, scrape the inside a little, and continue with lemon and salt.