Saturday, 12 March 2011
Just look at this beauty - what is it? A pork jowl, more than a cheek, skin, meat and best of all fat, from the ear to the snout. Pigs store fat in their cheeks and the former owner of this jowl did that, and very well too. Here it is flipped over -
You can see there is some meat but mainly it is luscious fat. The jowl has been cured and is ready to use. In Italy this is called guanciale, an essential ingredient in the pasta bucatini all'amatriciana. I bought this beauty in my local market at the Monteforte Dairy stand. What's a dairy doing with pork jowls? (They also have lardo.) Well the whey from their cheese making is feed to the pigs that produce these magnificent jowls. Now if your thinking why should I bother with a jowl when I can pick up a slice of pancetta take a look at this -
Is this not one of the most beautiful things you've seen? Now that is serious fat for flavouring any dish. I plan to make the classic Roman pasta, but my first dish with this fatty delight is a dish of slow cooked collards. All I need now are some chitterlings.