Dry Cured Tamworth Bacon from La Quercia
Does it bug anyone else that fancypants "artisanal" bacon is always so darn thick-sliced, meaty, and chewy? What if I really like the crisp, melt-in-your-mouth texture of thin-sliced supermarket bacon, but find the flavor rather lacking. What options do I have?
Pretty much none. Until now. La Quercia, the producers of American-made prosciutto that Jeffrey Steingarten has declared to be the best in the world (it is fantastic) have recently introduced Tamworth Country Cured Bacon, a naturally cured, nitrate and nitrite-free bacon made from the belly of heritage-breed Tamworth hogs—a breed known as "the bacon pig," for its well marbled meat.
It's thin-sliced, just like my favorite supermarket bacons, but since its cured naturally, it has far less water content, which means better crisping, less splatter, and—get this—you can eat it raw, just like a great ham.
On the palate, the flavor is first and foremost overtly porky. There's light smoke and plenty of salt, but not enough to drown out the flavor of the pig. It's got a very distinct sweetness to it, like a great prosciutto, despite the fact that the cure has absolutely no added sugar. All of the sweetness comes from the pig itself.
This is bacon that'd be equally at home in an awesome BLT, a breakfast sandwich, or even raw as part of a charcuterie platter.
It's available for mail order from La Quercia's website. Get some ham while you're at it.