Candied Pancetta and White Figs
8ea Dried White Sierra Figs
1T Palm Sugar
1/4C Sherry Wine
1/4C Sherry Vinegar
This has become one of my favorite condiments that can be used in a lot of dishes from pork to duck. Most recently I paired it with a foie gras torchon.
Pancetta is one of my favorite cured muscles, mostly because it is very similar to bacon. Pancetta is made with heavy, earthy spices such as juniper and black pepper, but is not limited to using only those. My favorite attribute to a good pancetta is its fermented flavor. It isn’t strong in a good quality pancetta but it adds a great flavor. The process can take up to 3 months with curing and air drying. I found it difficult in the beginning to roll the pancetta tight enough to remove the air so my first few batches were a flat Venetian style pancetta. It is very important that when you do a rolled pancetta, that you roll it tight and tie it properly or the meat will rot from the inside out.
This recipe comes from the book Ruhlman, Michael and Polcyn, Brian. Charcuterie, which I use as a reference to curing all meats.
4ea Garlic Cloves
2t Pink Salt
2oz Kosher Salt
2T Dark Brown Sugar
4T Coarse Black Pepper
2T Crushed Juniper Berries
4ea Bay Leaves
5# Pork Belly
I feel that bacon has become a fad…Everywhere! I don’t really know how I feel about it, I am still trying to figure it out, like how are sunglasses from the 80’s coming back into fashion, and neon…? Bacon seems to be coming up in everything that we make, and honestly I like mine sliced thick and cooked in a hot skillet to get it nice and crispy on the outside. I will admit that I do make a jam with bacon and apples for my pork dish but the reality of it is, it tastes like salt and smoke. the fat can definitely pick up some great flavors, but again the most prominent flavor is the smoke. I have mimicked the flavor before by smoking cherry tomatoes, and lettuces, I know smoked lettuce sounds weird, but more creative than throwing bacon on it. To show my own personal love for bacon, here is how I make my savory style bacon, that will leave your mouth-watering for more every time.
I have had a little feedback on curing bacon with sodium nitrite and I feel that some people may not have all of the information. With the hundreds of pounds of bacon that I have made, pink salt (curing salt) is a necessary ingredient during the curing process. Not only does it prevent botulism, but the pork belly seems less salty when I did a side by side test. The fact is, you need the nitrites in the pork to help the curing process, even bacon that says “all natural” contains these nitrites, how? A mixture of celery seed or extract with salt creates nitrites, they are able to call it all natural because you are not using a processed sodium nitrite. After the whole curing process the amount of nitrites left are very minimal, after the cooking process it is even smaller. Nitrites are found in a variety of vegetables including, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, parsley, and turnips. Some vegetables have shown to contain 2500mg of nitrites such as spinach, cured meats, on average contain 10-20mg. Most research on negative effects of nitrites on humans predates discovery of nitric oxide’s importance to human metabolism and human endogenous metabolism of nitrite. It takes 71mg of sodium nitrite for it to be fatal to humans, the nitrate found in salami’s is as compound itself is not harmful, and is among the antioxidants found in fresh vegetables.
1# Kosher Salt
8oz White Sugar
2oz Pink Curing Salt (AKA Curing Salt #1)
The Rest of the Bacon
~3# Pork Belly (I prefer skin on, its cheaper and easy to remove after the bacon has cooked)
4ea Garlic Cloves
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