In Emilia Romagna the art of forging cracklings is a matter of preserved recipes and traditions to be respected. To learn about some of the tasty secrets of this specialty we asked Vincenzo Franceschini , owner of the homonymous Salumificio who, to Modena , has been producing cracklings for over seventy years following the ancient family method . First of all, it is a question of selecting the ingredients that “are not at all the waste from pork processing, nor the poorest parts” assures Franceschini, clarifying that his recipe “includes exclusively pork cheek and pancetta “. “It is a precise preparation that belonged to our grandparents and we were lucky enough to guard” he explained. “That’s why today we can really talk about tradition”.
Cooking with the traditional method with open boilers also makes the difference. In this way, explained Franceschini, “the cracklings can boil in lard in copper vats for eight hours, tracing the times when they were cooked on the fire in their own copper boilers”. At the end of boiling , we proceed with salting “using only natural spices, without adding any preservatives”. Once cooled, they are finally pressed and vacuum packed. “They are 100% natural” he continued “and obtained from meat coming only from local farms”.
The country greaves appear as a sort of round cake (or in the shape of a half moon) with a height between four and five centimeters. They are soft and tasty: they can be eaten sliced ​​or diced like a cured meat. However, they are not to be confused with the mountaineers which, as Franceschini clarifies, “are made in larger and square shapes and have a sweeter flavor ” which goes well with the fried dumplings or hot buns. Then there are the cracklings in small pieces in the shortcrust version : “They are fried in lard and excellent as a snack to accompany aperitifs”. On the choice of wine Franceschini has no doubts: “To accompany the cracklings you can taste both a white and a light red, the important thing is that they are not too alcoholic or full-bodied so that they can enhance the flavors without covering them “.