The queen among the traditional products, the recipe for which dates from the Middle Ages, later being passed from one generation to another, is none other but the Dalmatian Pancetta. The climate, as one of the main factors in the production of pancetta, is what makes it different from other products.
The word ‘pancetta’ comes from the Italian word ‘pancia’ meaning ‘stomach’.
The widely accepted name symbolizes a very tasty product which has been known for its gourmet qualities since the ancient times. As an unmissable element of Croatian menus, it has over the centuries become a trademark of traditional Dalmatian cuisine. The manner in which Dalmatian Pancetta is produced has also changed over the centuries. Each family added specific aromatic herbs to the original recipe and took pride in the new family recipe, but the main ingredients have remained the same.
The pork pancetta is carefully processed in order to obtain the recognizable shape suitable for further production. Thorough dry-salting, i.e. gentle rubbing of salt into well-cooled meat, allows for the salt crystals to evenly permeate the meat texture. The dry-salting is followed by smoking on selected aromatic herbs, which ensures the product’s unique color and aroma. As opposed to prosciutto, in order to become the high-quality Dalmatian delight that it is, after the salting and smoking process pancetta also needs to be cured for a while until fully ripe. The secret to the Dalmatian Pancetta lies in the extent to which fresh pork is kept in salt or in smoke. However, it is the long embrace of the cold and warm winds of Dalmatia, which carry in themselves the fragrance and taste of the sea, what makes it the queen of traditional delights.
Dalmatian Pancetta is recognizable for its characteristic brown color obtained through the process of smoking and curing on authentic Dalmatian karst herbs. If we cross-cut it, we can see an even arrangement of layers of intense red muscle tissue and white fat. Pancetta is an excellent product for slicing due to its firm, elastic consistency. It makes it suitable for being served as a cold cut or used in the preparation of warm dishes. In addition to classic dishes, Dalmatian Pancetta can also be used to season fish specialties. Combine it with fruit and vegetables, discover new tastes and let your culinary fantasy take flight.
Dalmatian Pancetta has been woven from the smoke, the wind and long-time experience.
Tuna Fillet Wrapped in Pancetta on a Rosemary Twig with Prawn Risotto
150 g Pivac pancetta
400 g tuna fillets
100 g prawns
150 g rice
50 ml olive oil
4 rosemary twigs
30 ml white wine
1 cube of butter
Salt, pepper (as needed)
Cut the tuna into cubes and wrap each cube in pancetta. Use the rosemary twigs as spikes and array the tuna cubes along them. Finely chop the onion, sauté it in oil until golden brown, add rice and white wine, season the risotto, stir and let boil. Just before it is done, add prawns and continue adding broth or water from time to time.
Finally, add a cube of butter to bring the risotto together. Put the spiked tuna on a heated plate or barbeque and roast swiftly on both sides to make the pancetta crunchy, leaving the tuna pinkish inside. When serving, place the roasted tuna on top of the risotto. If you wish, you can garnish the dish with parsley pesto (parsley leaves, walnuts, ground parmesan and olive oil mixed in the blender until as thick as sauce).
Preparation Time: 60 minutes
Difficulty Level: 3/5
You can browse other recipes from our cook book S bure na pijat (From the Bora onto the Plate) here.
Many traditional dishes have been lost in the past but prosciutto, as a specialty, has been enthusing gourmets for more than two thousand years. The traditional Dalmatian Prosciutto is produced exclusively on the territory of Dalmatia, especially in Dalmatinska zagora, because this region enjoys exceptional microclimatic properties ensuring perfect conditions for ripening.
The cured pork neck entered the traditional Dalmatian cuisine relatively late. Its qualities were, however, recognized immediately and it today has a very important place among the cured meat delights of Dalmatia.