JAMÓN FAT HAS A SPECIAL PLACE IN THE SPANISH KITCHEN. IT IS TREASURED AS A SOURCE OF FLAVOUR: EVERYTHING A PIG ATE IN ITS LIFE IS CONCENTRATED IN ITS FAT. IF THE PIG WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO FEAST ON ACORNS, ITS FAT WILL HAVE A WONDERFUL NUTTINESS AND BE MOST SOUGHT AFTER. PARTICULARLY FATTY PIECES OF JAMÓN ARE PROCURED BY HOME COOKS FOR CERTAIN DISHES. THIS IS ONE OF THEM — A HEARTY SALAD THAT COMBINES THE SWEETNESS OF COOKED ONIONS, THE EARTHINESS OF POTATOES AND THE RICH NUTTINESS OF JAMÓN FAT.
Heat half the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over low-medium heat. Add the jamón fat and cook for 10–15 minutes, or until rendered. Remove and discard any jamón pieces and reserve the fat in the pan. Add the onion and garlic, season with a pinch of sea salt, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until the onion is very soft.
Cut the potatoes into large chunks by almost cutting through with a knife, then twisting the knife to break the potato apart. (This creates a rough surface on the potato that releases starch, giving a smooth texture to the dish.) Add the potato to the onion mixture with
Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan, add the pancetta and cook over low-medium heat for 10 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towel.
Sprinkle the paprika over the potatoes and roughly mash with a fork. Season with sea salt flakes and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Transfer to a warm serving dish, scatter with the warm pancetta lardons and serve.
© 2009 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.