Saturday, January 23

Basically the Best Bacon Ever: Italian Cured Pig's Cheek

Cured pig's cheek or guanciale di maiale (literally translates to cheek of the pig) is hands-down the BEST bacon Jason & I have ever eaten - and have yet to find someone who disagrees once they taste it's porky goodness! I know it sounds a bit weird to some to eat or order cheek - but trust me - just go with it - especially if you are in Italy. In our neck of the woods in Le Marche, it is served at home and commonly found on the menus of rustic traditional osteria's, family run restaurants just like our farmhouse, as an antipasta atop crostini. The recipe below calls for red wine vinegar which perfectly cuts the fat and combined with the sage makes for a rich meaty buttery deliciousness with a kick!

Bacon lovin' seems to run in the family - after 6 months of living in Italy, my sister Meagan returned to the States with only 2 things Italian: a new pair of shoes & a huge cured pig's cheek! Our good friend Fusciani proudly presented her with a home-cured cheek, proclaiming "my gift to America!"

America's gift from Italy

Recipe for Cured Pig's Cheek Crostini
  Crostini di Guanciale di Maiale

cured pig’s cheek (guanciale di maiale)
fresh sage leaves, few handfuls
olive oil
garlic cloves
red wine vinegar
toasty bread

Slice cured pig's cheek very thinly or ask your butcher.
In a frying pan, on medium heat add 2 glugs of olive oil, garlic cloves & sage leaves, add pig's cheek.
Cook for approximately 30 seconds - 1 minute on each side, until changes color to a nice golden brown, but not burned.
Blot with a paper towel.
Lightly sprinkle with red wine vinegar.
Serve immediately with the sage over toasted bread.

Pair best with crusty bread to soak up the juices or better yet blow your diet and serve for breakfast with eggs & toast!

Jason showing a guest how to slice prosciutto & guanciale paper thin
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