Last week I bought some organic pork belly from BioSpace (www.bioespacio.com, C/ València 186, Barcelona) and set about making some bacon as an experiment. Nothing complicated, just rubbed in a cure of sea salt, black pepper, soft brown sugar and some crushed bay leaf, put into a big, airy tupperware in the fridge then turned, drained, wiped and re-rubbed with the cure mix every 24 hours for 4 days before, drying and airing for 24 hrs more.
Bacon’s a big miss for me here in Spain. The scrawny, artificially-seasoned rubbish in the supermarkets is even worse than the artificially-seasoned rubbish they sell in Britain and doesn’t even have the virtue of being disguisable in a bacon sandwich.
And I did so want some bacon sandwiches. So this morning, the bacon went into the pan.
A bit thickly and clumsily cut, as you can see, but I was hungry and in a hurry.
The verdict? Unbeatable flavour. Sensational. The organic ibérico pork is a great starting point and I made sure to wipe the bread for the sandwiches in the hot fat of the pan. This was not the time to worry about calories.
Downside? Too salty. I think the problem was the size of the pork belly. Ibérico pigs aren’t the biggest, and the meaty end of the belly was small, under 1kg. I might try it with 3 days curing next time and maybe a longer rinse at the end.
If anyone has any tips on making bacon or on finding bigger, free-range pork bellies in Spain, please let me know.
This was a qualified success: I’ve got some good eating bacon here but it’s not perfect. It would however be perfect in a carbonara or cooked with some fresh habas (broad beans) which will probably be its fate.