How to prepare the best torreznos?
Torreznos are a specialty of Spanish gastronomy that is particularly popular in Soria.Torreznos are perfect to eat alone, with potatoes, as a tapa or appetizer. They are a delight and preparing them is not so difficult!
What are torreznos?
The word torrezno comes from "torrar" or toasting something over a fire until it acquires color. Torreznos are nothing more than bacon fried in a frying pan, griddle or grill. Torreznos, unlike simple bacon that is placed in a frying pan, have a very crispy and golden texture.
In order to make torreznos it is important to buy the right cut of pork. And it is not just ordinary bacon, as one might assume. Torrezno de Soria is made with marinated bacon and the bacon is extracted from the belly of the animal. Torreznos are often confused with bacon because they have a part of bacon, but also includes the skin. In addition, a torrezno is up to three or four centimeters thick, while bacon is much thinner
Torrezno is made in different ways in each province. In some places, for example, the marinade is made using paprika and oregano. The flavor is incredible! In Extremadura, they use streaky bacon and serve it with gazpacho or salmorejo and in Andalusia, instead of being called torreznos they are called chicharrones.
This typical Spanish dish can be accompanied in different ways and eaten at different times of the day. There are places where torreznos are served for breakfast, with migas. There are others where they are served as a tapa or appetizer, and in others as a complement to the main dish.
Tips for making the best torreznos
The origin of torreznos dates back to medieval times. There are references to them even in the Lazarillo de Tormes, but, at that time, torreznos were made using lard. And what is the secret to obtaining the best torreznos? The secret to preparing great torreznos lies in getting the crust layer very crispy and juicy at the same time, and this is achieved with the right temperature and time. The big problem is always the frying, which can sometimes make the torrezno dry and very hard.
The recipe is not complicated at all! You can prepare them at home by cooking them at low temperature. It is also possible to prepare them in the oven, but for this, you will need to have an oven that has the necessary power to make the outside layer very crispy.
On the other hand, just as beef and pork cuts need to be at room temperature at the time of cooking, this type of pancetta is no exception. It is important that you remove the bacon from the refrigerator for a couple of hours before preparing the recipe, so that it reaches room temperature. The process will not take more than two hours and, in summer, one hour will be more than enough.
Some expert cooks recommend removing the pancetta from its vacuum packaging and leaving it to hang for about 14 hours (up to 24 hours) in a cool, dry place in the house. Make sure there is no humidity! This is an alternative step that allows the pancetta to breathe.
Also, when making torreznos, you should start by using sunflower oil and not olive oil, as sunflower oil is able to withstand higher temperatures, which is why it is used so much for frying!
Recipe of torreznos (bacon) Soria style
- Marinated cured bacon. You can find the bacon already marinated and you can even buy the Soria bacon ready to put on the fire.
- Sunflower oil.
- The first thing to do is to take the bacon out of the fridge to bring it to room temperature. The time can vary depending on the thickness of the bacon, as well as the temperature of the environment. In summer you may need less time and in winter, more.
- When the pancetta is at the right temperature, it is time to cut it into portions of about three or four centimeters thick. If you wish, you can cut the bacon into strips of two or three centimeters. Try to make sure that they are all more or less the same thickness; this way the cooking will be uniform.
- Place the torreznos in a frying pan, skin side down, with sunflower oil.
- Let them cook for 25 minutes, using low heat.
- After 25 minutes, increase the temperature and fry the bacon. You will see how bubbles start to appear on the crust, but also how the outer layer becomes golden brown and very crispy.
- The total cooking time can vary and be between 30 and 40 minutes in total.
- Remove the torreznos from the pan and place them on a plate previously covered with kitchen paper so that it absorbs the oil released by the torreznos.