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Can I sub salt pork in a quiche recipe calling for guanciale?


This recipe was recommended from another CH'er. I'm going to take it to a brunch next week. I have a hunk of salt pork or bacon in the fridge.

For those who joined me in the Tortilla Espanola convo last week, I have not given up my quest. Just no time to work on it this week. So, I've chosen to make this potato quiche. ;-)

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  1. I regularly sub bacon for other, more expensive pork products.

    1. I'd go with slab bacon, or thick cut bacon. I've made this recipe twice and that's what I used (slab). It's a slam dunk, so go for it! I even used remade pie crust in it once.
      btw, i was reading the thread about Tortilla Espanola and made my first this morning!
      It was a very good first attempt and I'm excited to make more.

      3 Replies
      1. re: monavano

        Could you link to that thread please?

        1. re: monavano

          Yay! Good for you monavano! I had the best intentions, but wow, does work get in the way of life or what? I'll have to add Tortilla Esp to the cooking goals for 2014 list.

          1. re: pagesinthesun

            I'd say it took me 20 minutes total to make. I thought I'd get hung up at some point, or the whole thing would end up on the floor and we'd be eating cereal, but it went smoothly.
            I use the exact same ingredients for breakfast all the time, and you probably do too. It was just going through the motions a bit differently than before.
            Definitely make it a goal for 2014!

          1. re: monavano

            Thanks. This is something I've been wanting to make.

            1. re: c oliver

              I watched a lot of videos on YouTube to get the gist of it, and it really is a method vs. a recipe.
              I really would love to achieve the egg pillow result seen on Jose Andres' "Made in Spain".

          2. I'm not an guanchiale experts, but the last batch that I had was as fatty as salt pork, but with stronger spice notes, especially. rosemary.

            3 Replies
              1. re: paulj

                So maybe I can go for the salt pork and add some fresh rosemary? Rosemary would fit the flavor profile well.

                1. re: pagesinthesun

                  I'd skip the salt pork and add fresh rosemary.
                  Save the salt pork for braising.

              2. Salt pork has such a different texture, but hey you can do anything you want. Better than not making it at all. Guanciale is so soft and tender.

                I am The Queen Of Ingredient Subbing, but since guanciale is so easy to get here, I'm sort of getting hooked on it, despite the price. Bacon is another whole story, not that I don't love bacon but now we're talking another whole flavor profile.

                8 Replies
                1. re: coll

                  You East Coast people are so lucky. And I guess any big city. Guanciale isn't on my watch list :(

                  1. re: c oliver

                    I think some gourmet stores and butchers are responding to the increase in requests for guanciale because people see it on food tv shows and want to replicate the recipe exactly.

                    1. re: monavano

                      From your lips to the she-god's ear :)

                      1. re: c oliver

                        I know because the people who work there (a butcher shop and gourmet cheese/charcuterie/wine/....) are like, "everyone's asking for guanciale lately!!!"

                    2. re: c oliver

                      It's probably the easiest thing in the whole salumi repertoire to cure at home. Don't be at all intimidated by it. DYI, and pay a $15 for a year's supply (frozen of course to make it last).

                    3. re: coll

                      To be honest, I'm not really familiar with salt pork. I have needed it in recipes in the past and had difficulty finding it, so when I saw it at my regular grocer I threw it in the cart with no plans for it.
                      I haven't searched our specialty grocer for guanciale. Do you think I should for this recipe or just go for the salt pork that's sitting in the fridge?

                      1. re: pagesinthesun

                        Can you get pancetta?
                        I'd use pancetta or slab bacon, or, forgo the cured meat all together and pump up the flavor with fresh rosemary.
                        You don't *need* the pig in this dish.
                        Again, having made it...

                        1. re: pagesinthesun

                          If it's easy to get, it's such a great difference. I wouldn't go crazy, but I can get it in the deli department of my local grocery. They do carry a lot of specialty products. It's only $9.99/lb so not prohibitive.

                          I have used salt pork in chowders and it always tastes a little rancid to me. I think I'd rather use nothing, and just call it vegetarian.

                      2. My experience is that salt pork is impossible to chew even when it's been minced. LONG cooking is required.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: letsindulge

                          And guanciale on the other hand is SO unctuous, I've been putting in my sauce lately and it's heavenly.

                          1. re: coll

                            Now that I have a local place that carries it, I can finally make pasta all'amatriciana with guanciale vs. slab bacon.
                            The bacon version is delicious, too, btw.
                            And I don't care if it's not 'legit' to use ;-)

                        2. I don't think so.... pancetta would be a better sub then salt pork.

                          9 Replies
                            1. re: paulj

                              I think of salt pork as a flavoring, not distinctive bits in a dish, like lardons.
                              For example, I'd use pieces of salt pork for flavoring baked beans and greens. So, I think of it more for long-cooked dishes that are wet/braised.
                              Pancetta is cooked up like lardons,whereas salt pork is generally blanched. It's just a better switch-out is the bottom line, and I would forgo the pork entirely in this dish, and go for aromatic rosemary, which marries so nicely with potato.

                              1. re: monavano

                                I've had salt pork presented as a meat in some Chinese dishes, and my older Fannie Farmer has a recipe for salt pork in gravy. It's commonly used as meat in a lot of old New England recipes, especially in baked beans. I got into a bit of an argument with John Thorne, the food writer in Maine, because he insisted that bacon was a poor substitute for salt pork in a pot of beans because it makes them taste smoky. I lived in Nashville at the time, and told him that smokiness is not considered a problem in that part of the world, especially in beans! But at the same time I got myself some salt pork and tried some dishes, including Fannie's pork in gravy … which was delicious, if not exactly diet food.

                                1. re: Will Owen

                                  The salt pork in Chinese dishes is very interesting. I, too, like smoky beans.
                                  I'm one for substituting bacon for pancetta (or other non-smoked pork product) and accept the resulting dish for what it is, and maybe even liking it more- pasta all'amatriciana come to mind.
                                  Yeah, it's not authentic, but I own it!

                              2. re: paulj

                                To start with, guanciale, salt pork, and pancetta are from three different parts of the pig.

                                When I make guanciale, I rub a pig jowl in salt plus aromatics and hang to dry for about a week or so. Pancetta is from the belly [bacon] of the pig. The curing of pancetta uses different herbs, but does include pink salt, and aromatics. It must be hung is a controlled environment, and since the cut is so much bigger after rolling, it takes far more time.

                                Salt pork is from the back of the pig and generally doesn't have any meat at all. You cure the fat back with salt, lots and lots of salt, and it will keep for a very long time.

                                The similarities of guanciale and pancetta are that they are both cured, and the cuts have a meat/fat split. Due to the curing method for these two cuts, they melt quickly and are very useful for quicker cooking methods.

                                Salt pork must be boiled and dried several times before using or it is simply unpalatable. Julia Child has some of the best instructions I have found for preparing salt pork for cooking. As others have mentioned, when used for long cooking, such as Boston Baked beans, the fat has time to break down and flavor the whole dish. But it still needs to be desalinated before using.

                                1. re: smtucker

                                  I think the farther back you go, the leaner the salt pork. My sainted grandmother never boiled it before incorporating it in baked beans, and neither have I, but her recipe calls for 1 tsp of salt for 4 c. of dry beans which, in my experience since I use her recipe, is enough to allow for the saltiness of the pork.

                                  1. re: sr44

                                    Could be. My grandmother always desalinated her salt pork. Perhaps it is a matter of taste and/or region? Was the salt pork saltier in February than in November when it had been freshly cured? These are things I just don't know!

                                    1. re: smtucker

                                      That's one of the tricky things about old recipes. Were things saltier at the bottom of the barrel? When were they at the bottom of the barrel? Impossible to know now.

                                      John Thorne had a recipe for salt pork in one of his annual booklets, I'm not sure which one. It had a lot more flavorings than salt. Perhaps it's time to dig it out and try it.

                              3. re: smtucker

                                Yes, pancetta is a far better sub than salt pork.

                              4. When I can't get guanciale this stuff works pretty well. At least it comes from the right part of the pig.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: grampart

                                  That would work perfectly in this recipe.

                                  1. re: grampart

                                    Wow. In Nashville I could walk down to the corner Bi-Rite and buy that whenever I wanted it, but here in L.A. it's nowhere to be found. That's why some almost always goes into the suitcase when we've gone back for a visit!

                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                      I'm going to keep an eye open for pork jowl bacon. There's a chance that it might appear in VA.

                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                        Looks like WalMart carries it, at least in some stores. And Amazon has other brands.

                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                          Will, you need to hit a store with an African American clientele. You'll find smoked hog jowl bacon. They just don't sell it everywhere. In San Francisco, I find it in a crappy Kroger chain. It's under the Farmland brand and it's pretty good. $2.25/lb. Don't tell the yups here on CH, they'll drive the price up...LOL

                                        2. re: grampart

                                          That is a totally new product to me! Fascinating.

                                        3. This may sound silly, but why don't you just leave it out?
                                          The recipe lists as "optional"....

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Ttrockwood

                                            2oz is about the weight of one rasher of thick cut bacon.

                                          2. I find pork jowl bacon in the meat section of my local giant all the time. It's dirt cheap because no one ever buys it where I live. What I do is soak it in water to remove some excess salt and smoke flavor, and then I add appropriate herbs and spices and "cure" it again in a bag for a day or two. Then I dry it out again by leaving it in an open container in the fridge. Acts almost exactly like guanciale in a pinch.

                                            Of course, any unsmoked cured fatty pork product can work

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: takadi

                                              Takadi, in CA they only sell it in neighborhoods with an African American clientele. They buy it and use it in collard greens and other dishes they make. Mostly older people.

                                            2. OK, if you have true salt pork (it isn't the same thing as bacon), then no, don't sub it. If it is salt pork or bacon (whatever that means), then maybe yes you can sub it.

                                              I cure my own sp and guanciale. Both are very different. Salt pork would probably last through a nuclear holocaust and still not spoil. Guanciale, is more like pancetta, made with hog jowls and it isn't salt cured for near as long as salt pork.