23 May 2011

Turnip and guanciale frittata

I still have a drying crust of cured pig's cheek in the back of my fridge. The guanciale I paired with leeks to make a simple pasta dish has nearly been used up but I had a hunch that the little left would well compliment the lonely turnip below it in the salad draw. Two full and old-fashioned flavours: turnip and pig fat, surely both eaten (possibly in combination?, answers on a postcard) for centuries in farmhouses across much of Europe. We also had lots of eggs in the fridge and lots of eggs usually leads to one thing - frittata.

Oh wondrous egg-based matrix! Ready to receive and cosset the humblest of foodstuffs.

  • eggs (quite a few)
  • guanciale (or another fatty pork product such as pancetta or chorizo)
  • turnip
  • nutty mushrooms

Cut the guanciale into small dice. Being so fatty you want to get it really crisp and it's going to be harder to do this with bigger pieces (I wish I'd gone smaller). Set aside.

Fry on a gentle heat to render the fat and being the crisping. Continue until tantalisingly browned.

Cut the turnip and mushrooms into dice twice the size of the meat. Fry the turnip in the pork fat for ten minutes in a fairly low heat to cook and begin to caramelise. Add the mushrooms and fry for five minutes. Turnips respond well to black pepper: add according to taste.

Reintroduce the guanciale.

Beat the eggs and pour into the mixture. When it begins to firm up work over the bottom of the frittata with a spatula to prevent sticking. After five minutes either flip the frittata over by first transferring to a plate or finish under the grill.

Serve with a salad and bread.

with radish and beetroot salad


  1. I'm sure it tastes lovely, but I'm not convinced!

  2. Fabulous looking frittata! I've never tried pigs cheek, but I'd probably try it in a slow cooker or something (I have a thing about fatty textures so it would need to be melted away over time hee hee!)

  3. Janice - it was really nice, if you like Bacon I'm sure you would like guanciale (as long as it's been nicely crisped).

    Catherine - thanks for that. Guanciale is cured pig's jowl so it's more like very fatty bacon than fresh pig's cheeks which are also delicious! They are indeed great slow cooked. I cooked some here - http://saladdaysoffalnights.blogspot.com/2011/01/braised-pigs-cheeks-with-paprika.html