WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? SOPPRESSATA ‘N CHEESE

whatsforlunch_soprasettaSoppressata from Citarella’s Market paired with some pickled cherry peppers from the garden and a piece cheddar cheese.  (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumCitarella’s Market in Red Bank carries a few different cured dry sausages that they bring in from Pastosa’s in Brooklyn.

PieHole recently picked up a sweet soppressata (approx $15 per pound) from the Prospect Avenue shop. At home, we put together a quick lunch with some pickled hot cherry peppers from this summer’s garden and a piece of cheddar leftover from a recent party.

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RED BANK: GETTING FRESH WITH TURKEY

turkey

The sign outside Citarella’s Market in Red Bank says it all. If you want a fresh turkey, the clock is ticking. Below, Kristian Bauman, meat manager at Sickles Market in Little Silver. (Photos by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

Kristian BaumanThanksgiving is less than three weeks away, and so now is the time to think about where you’re going to get your turkey for the big day.

If possible, you’re going to want to go with a fresh bird, not one that’s been doing hard, cold time frozen away in some industrial freezer.

“Sometimes those turkeys have been in the supermarket’s freezer for a year or so,” says Stew Goldstein, of Monmouth Meats in Red Bank. “The stores buy when the price is low, and then keep the birds in their freezers ’til it’s time to sell them. Who knows really how long it’s been in there?”

One thing dinner tables around the Red Bank Green can be thankful for is the number of options we have for getting fresh turkeys. Piehole checked in with three shops to talk fresh turkey.

 

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RED BANK: GENERATIONS OF MEATY WISDOM

Fourth-generation butcher Ralph Citarella, right, and long-time employee Kyle Powell carry on more than 113 years of meat-cutting tradition. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

Bites1_SmallJust as in the Middle Ages, when last names like Baker, Taylor and Miller connoted the trade or profession of the family breadwinner, if “Citarella” were an occupation, it would now mean “dude who knows meat.”

In the late 1800s, Andrew Ralph Citarella left Naples, Italy, to settle in Red Bank, and soon began selling meat off of his front porch.

“He learned to cut meat by just doing it,’ says Ralph Citarella, fourth-generation butcher and current owner of Citarella’s Market, on Prospect Avenue. “Then he sent my great-grandmother [Carmela] to the meat houses [in Long Branch]. She learned the proper way, and then she taught him.

“So she taught my great-grandfather, and he taught my grandfather, and my grandfather taught my father, who taught me. It’s like an apprenticeship. It’s just years of a cutting apprenticeship.”

From the front porch, the first Citarellas moved to a store on Bridge Avenue in Red Bank. Sometime later, the shop relocated to Sea Bright, where Ralph’s grandfather and father, Andy, ran the business. The 1962 flood brought another relocation, to the Little Silver Shopping Center, where Andy ran the store. But in 1979, “he had to get out of there, because at that time it was really run-down, and the rent was going up, so he moved the store” to its current location, said Ralph. “He ‘moved a mile north,’ as he used to put it.”

redbankgreen sat down with Ralph at a picnic table beside the store recently to talk about meat, sauce and what makes a 100- plus-year-old family business tick.

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