Eating Hungarian Szalonna in Singapore

Mangalica Pork

Hungarian Szalonna (Sah-Lon-Na) is a fantastic piece of pork product; it is basically your back bacon with rind that’s smoked. And because it’s part of traditional Hungarian cuisine, it’s readily available in any butcher or supermarket.

Hungarians usually spear a piece of the Szalonna on a piece of wood and hold it over the fire till it sizzles and then place it on a piece of bread to catch the drippings. It’s crunchy, fragrant and ooooh-so good.

In restaurants, if you order pork done in “Gipsy-style”, this means your pork chop will be topped by a beautifully round of crispy juicy Szalonna as pictured above. And if your pork is from the Hungarian Mangalica pig, you’re in for a real treat.

On my last trip to Budapest, I managed to score a small block of Szalonna from the local butcher. For research purposes, naturally. But since I’ve neither a fireplace nor Mangalica pork chops available in Singapore, this is what I did…

2011Jul25-Szalonna-1

Hungarian Szalonna on Naan

I wanted to taste the sweetness of Szalonna in Singapore but was at a loss on what to do as there are many recipes. In the end, June suggested I do it like a lardo pizza. As I was too lazy to get pizza, I opted to get a few pieces of Naan. It turned out awesome, great as breakfast, lunch, snack or as an appetizer at dinner. I should think it will work well with lardo too.

Ingredients: (serves 1 as a main or 3 as a snack)

  • 1 piece of medium-sized Naan
  • 1 clove of Garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 pieces of Hungarian Szalonna, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp of Rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp of Olive oil

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 150°C/302°F.
  2. Place the Naan in a baking tray and scatter all the Garlic slices and half of the Rosemary on it.
  3. Spread the Olive oil over the Naan and place into the heated oven for 20 minutes to brown slightly.
  4. Remove the Naan from the oven and lay the Szalonna slices over the Naan and scatter the remaining Rosemary over it.
  5. Wait for the Szalonna to soften and turn transparent from the residual heat of the Naan, slice the Naan and serve immediately.

Notes:

  • You don’t need salt since the Szalonna is already salted. Same for Lardo too.
  • Thin slices of Szalonna can be hard to handle at room temperature, so keep it chilled and do the slicing at the last possible moment, i.e. immediately after taking out the Naan from the oven.
  • If the Naan is not quite hot or brown enough, blast it longer but keep an eye out so it doesn’t burn.
  • Don’t be stingy with the olive oil; a good olive oil amplifies the flavors.
  • Naan and the Slices of Szalonna would be a great name for a rock band.

2011Jul25-Szalonna-5

Mangalica Pork


Posted on 23rd Aug 2011 in Asian, Hungarian, Recipes, Singapore

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