jimmyprosciutto

sharing (Italian) food to enjoy life

A rare mistake from my favourite cooking magazine

Posted by Jim Carfrae on January 12, 2010

Fine Cooking is the single magazine I get the most inspiration from, with ideas from Canadian Living and the odd Bon Appetite or Gourmet. I find they teach things and ideas where you can taste and share the difference. Usually they do a great job, but when explaining the difference between pancetta and bacon I think they failed to capture how great the difference really is.

In their Special Entertaining Issue: “… the difference between them lies in how they’re prepared and cured. To make bacon, pork belly sides are brined and then smoked. Pancetta … is made by seasoning a pork belly side with salt and pepper, curling it into a tight roll, and wrapping it in a casing to hold the shape. It’s cured, but it isn’t smoked.”

To call bacon cured is to consider only the salting of the belly.  Bacon is pumped full of brine, cold smoked  and put through a continuous oven to an internal temperature of around 140 Fahrenheit, uncooked for most of us.  When the bacon leaves the oven and reaches the package it weighs even more than the meat started at. This is why you see steam for the first couple minutes you cook bacon, as the water that was pumped in gets boiled off.

Contrast with pancetta and it is clear why the difference is so pronounced when you taste it. 

Pancetta is salted and put in a temperature and humidity controlled room for two to three months.  During this time the meat cures and loses much of its moisture.  The final pancetta weighs a third less than the meat weighed before curing. As the meat ages it develops the true cured pork taste.

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One Response to “A rare mistake from my favourite cooking magazine”

  1. […] different way – giving a much more intense taste. (Previous blog on this if you are interested:  A rare mistake from my favourite cooking magazine.) Cube-etti are just starting to be shipped, so you may not find it in a store for a couple […]

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