- 14 Sep 2017 12:28 PM
Szalonna and all other pork products have been a staple food in peasant communities for centuries. This dominance of pork in the Hungarian diet goes back to the times of the Ottoman occupation in the 16th-17th centuries, since pigs were the only animals the Turks did not expropriate.
These days the most common types are:
Kenyérszalonna (so called bread-fat, salt matured, air dried, slightly smoked fat, usually eaten with fresh bread and onion slices)
Fehér szalonna (white fat, salt matured and coated, air dried fat)
Csécsi or abált szalonna (garlic seasoned, boiled, paprika coated cheek)
Erdélyi szalonna (garlic seasoned, boiled belly)
Mangalica szalonna (fat of the mangalitsa pig)
Szalonna is a multi-purpose ingredient of the Hungarian diet including scrambled eggs with fried bread-fat (szalonnás rántotta), smoked fat used to accompany meat dishes like a piece of szalonna shaped like a cockscomb on top of cigánypecsenye (gypsy steak).
But the main attraction is the Hungarian barbecue called SZALONNASÜTÉS, preferably sitting around a campfire holding huge chunks of szalonna and dripping the hot fat onto a piece of bread.
The word ‘szalonna’ is so deeply embedded in Hungarian mindset that it’s also a part of a proverb describing someone’s bad nature that cannot be changed, literally ‘a dog will never make good pork fat’ (kutyából nem lesz szalonna), a rough equivalent of ‘a leopard cannot change its spots’.
Republished with permission