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Dec 27, 2006 06:44 PM

HELP! making pate - fatback, bacon or what to line it?

i'm having trouble tracking down fatback - what are some other options besides bacon, and where can i find them?

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  1. Pancetta? (at most gourmet markets and any decent Italian supermarket) Raw pork belly? (My local Chinese supermarkets carry this.) Have your butcher freeze the slab, then slice it thinly). Caul fat? (much more difficult to find than fatback)

    As far as where to find it locally, you should ask on your home board, i'm guessing Los Angeles?

    1 Reply
    1. I've mad many a pate using bacon. The secret is to blanch the bacon before lining the tin, cuts down on the amount of fat.

      1. I'd be more worried about the smokiness of bacon than the fat content. Pancetta sounds about right. If we were in London, though, we could choose from among a huge number of different types of bacon - smoked, unsmoked, streaky, etc. etc. I remember being amazed by the Wall-O-Bacon at the Safeway near Russell Square. It was right next to the giant Wall-O-Cream.

        My question is: I haven't had bacon in France for at least 30 years and can't remember whether if I experienced this or made it up -- isn't French bacon unsmoked? Or most French bacon anyway? Cured, but not smoked? This would really make a difference in pate wrapping.

        1 Reply
        1. re: oakjoan

          Blanching/parboiling the bacon also cuts way back on the smokiness and salt. Also, if you're anywhere in Niman Ranch territory, their bacon is very un-smoky, which is widely regarded as a defect by bacon-lovers, but which makes it much better for such uses as larding strips OR (ta-DAAA!) lining a paté dish.

          Being as I am in the San Gabriel Valley part of LA County, where Asian markets practically line both sides of some streets, finding plain pork belly for really cheap is no trick at all. But the mainstream markets commonly have packages of salt pork as well.

        2. so i just got my butcher to trim his loin chops for 3lbs of pork fat - i think i can make it work.

          when i asked him about unsmoked, uncured bacon, all he said was "i told you i don't have fatback." heh.

          isn't pancetta cured?

          1 Reply
          1. In my area (Northern California) fatback is called salt pork and is widely available in the (cheaper) sausage section of most markets. It's also called back bacon in some parts. It's salty but not smoky at all.