Photo: a painting by me of a piece of Cansalada also made by me…
The Italians call it Pancetta, the French say Petit Salé and in local Patois it’s called Cansalada… Whatever you call it, this dry-cured, homemade version has nothing whatsoever to do with the supermarket variety. It’s super easy to make, tastes like magic and keeps for months.
2kg pork belly, skin on
200g caster sugar
2 bay leaves, shredded
20 or so juniper berries, crushed
a few sprigs of thyme and/or rosemary
25g freshly ground black pepper
Mix the salt with the sugar and add the shredded bay leaves, juniper berries and thyme (and or rosemary). Massage into the meat and put into a lidded container, then place in the fridge for a week. It will secrete water which you may pour off every day.
After the week rinse the meat under running water. Pat dry with kitchen paper, then sprinkle generously with freshly milled black pepper and press into the meat. Wrap into several layers of kitchen paper and refresh every day for a week. Then leave to air-dry for 3 weeks before using.