Cren, is the Venetian word for horseradish. The name probably comes from the period in which the Triveneto (the three regions of Italy that were once the Venetian Republic: Veneto, Trentino-Alto-Adige, and Friuli-Venezia-Giulia) was occupied by the Austrian, since in Austria horseradish is called kren.
Salsa di cren is eaten all over the Triveneto as an accompaniment to meat, but is most popular in Friuli-Venezia-Giulia and in the provinces of Padua and Treviso, right next to Venice. It can be very hot and spicy which is unusual for Italian cooking in general.
There are two varieties of salsa di cren, one creamy, rather like British horseradish sauce, and one sweet and sour. I prefer the sweet and sour version and it’s the recipe that I am giving you. Rather like the recipe for mostarda I’ll be telling you what to eat this with later. But as it needs to sit in the fridge for at least a week before eating, here’s the recipe now.
This is a very simple recipe for which you need a fresh horseradish. Be careful as you grate the horseradish since it has the same effect on your eyes as chopping onions.
- 400g / 14 ounce piece of horseradish
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 40g / 1 1/2 ounces sugar
- white wine vinegar
- Wash and peel the horseradish with a potato peeler.
- Grate the horseradish.
- In a bowl, mix the horseradish with the salt and sugar.
- Place the mixture in clean jars.
- Fill the jars up with white wine vinegar.
- Put the lids on tightly.
- Place in the fridge and leave for at least a week before eating.