The triumphant return of torrezno
In 2014, the British newspaper The guardian He described the torreznos as "deliciously decadent pieces of fried bacon." And, indeed, they are something delicious, but decadent? Let me doubt it. Those pieces of fried bacon live their second-or third-youth. And this is not now: the same year that article was published, 369,370 kilos of Sorian torreznos were dispatched in Spain. Do you think many? Well, know that in 2017 we put, between chest and back, 1,129,937 kilos. If the torrezno was in decline, of course here it has not been noticed.
What is unheard of is that these figures, provided by Juanjo Delgado, technical director of the Torrentia guarantee brand of Soria, continue to go today with the one that is falling. In the era of kale, those pieces of fried bacon are, perhaps, the last redoubt of fat. The moral reserve of cholesterol. And also one of the bastions of our sentimental memory. Because if torrezno has come to this day it is also for what it means: compared to other more noble appetizers - such as cheese, chorizo or anchovies - this crispy piece of bacon soaks like a few childhoods of many, among which I I include Although we do not talk about a precisely light food.
From Soria to Madrid
And yet there they are. Fresh and lozanos. Decorating, again, bars bars and taverns. Or on Instagram. The torrezno has returned although, in reality, he never left. Crouched, as it was, between the aioli potatoes or a whole sample of frozen dumplings that no one will miss. But, perhaps, it was necessary to cook it as it deserves. Claim, well, Soria's idiosyncrasy and, therefore, ours. That I forgive the Abulenses, but if you have to talk about torreznos you have to refer to the second homeland girl by Antonio Machado. That, in addition, from there it is from where all this crunchy wave that we live has developed.
"For five years we have been participating in important competitions such as Madrid Fusión. The acceptance has been spectacular and that we have not invented anything new: we are only carrying a traditional product, much appreciated at the local level, to make it known throughout the national territory ", acknowledges Delgado, the technical director of the guarantee brand torrezno de Soria.
A delicacy that has convinced great chefs
Naturally, this distinction granted in 2013 by the Agrarian Technological Institute of Castilla y León has contributed to this expansion. Or holding a contest -this is good- that for years has been looking for the best torrezno in the world (in case you are interested: in 2017, the bar El Hogar took the prize for the best traditional recipe and the Virrey restaurant in Palafox, to the most innovative). But this, by itself, does not even explain that rage. Great chefs like Madrid's Alberto Chicote have also succumbed. In its gastronomic space Puertalsol torreznos de Soria are sold for six euros per serving. They are cooked rolled-type bacon- and fried crispy. Chance? Absolutely. "We decided to incorporate them to the letter in 2016 by pure tradition", explains Pedro Olmedo, partner of Chicote in that establishment.
Something that fits more with the theory of the gourmet and general director of the Alícia Foundation, Toni Massanés: "This return to tradition takes a lot in Spain. We are very modern, but we like to meet again with what, sometimes, we easily forget It is possible that with the torreznos this has happened ".
Beyond that return to our origins, this expert also points out other reasons: "Yes, it is true that, lately, there is a decriminalization of saturated fats. Now all the fault is sugar. But it is also that fat pork is not as saturated as other animal fats. " For my peace of mind, the latter is confirmed by Javier García, nutritionist, dietitian and food technologist. "Pigs, indeed, are monogastric animals and, as such, just like humans, they do not saturate the fat. If the pig is also Iberian, the acorn provides unsaturated fatty acids, which is what ends up in the animal. the torreznos also accumulate, yes, more fats by frying. "
The snack perfect
But how rich are they? The snack perfect, retakes Massanés: "Crispy, fatty and salty". Perhaps therein lies its success: in that flavor, texture and aroma. "If it is also fatty, but not much, crunchy, but not hard. And the meat is slightly splintering and retains a bit of juiciness, we will be facing the perfect torrezno. But, of course, this is easy to say, but difficult to achieve." .
As this specialist recalls, torreznos thus has only eaten them in Soria and in the Pre-Pyrenees - "there they take more as accompaniment" -, although Toni Massanés cites another place that allows an idea, perhaps, of the dimension of this delicacy: " In São Paulo, in the Mocotó restaurant, I tried some towers, which is what they call torreznos there, that had that point of fat and salt and that were a real delight. "
Torreznos with less fat? Yes you can
To Brazil came the torreznos, you see. Although to taste those pieces of fried bacon it is not necessary to cross the Atlantic nor be a resident in the province of Soria, which, hey, if they are, great. But La Raquetista's torreznos have nothing to envy of these. More than anything because the bacon they use in this pub in Madrid comes from there. What already changes is the way to prepare them: they are cooked for 12 hours and, as explained by Javier Aparicio, the owner and the chef, use a fresh bacon marinated in paprika and oreada. "And then, from here, we select: if it has a lot of fat or little, we discard it. Within each bacon, we select the parts that have a good balance between fat and meat, and we cut it into cubes."
The skin, unlike in other places, is made apart. "We cook it, dry it and fry it like a crust and that allows us to make the form of the torrezno: if it is attached to the skin you always have to endure the fat. In this way, we equalize, as far as possible, that balance between fat and meat, "Aparicio crumbles. And the result, I advance it, compensates the patience of the kitchen team of this place: the meat is juicy, but not fatty; the skin creaks without being hard; the index and the thumb do not become saturated and, most importantly, these torreznos do not repeat because they are not refried in their fat. One of the reasons that this appetizer has been relegated for so long.
Now he prepares well
"They are cyclical products, which come and go. What happens is that, in many places, they have been badly done, such as bravas or salad," says the chef of La Raquetista. "And it was not about doing deconstruction or construction from old recipes, it was about doing it with love. The torrezno has returned because it is a massive product that everyone likes. And because now, finally, it is being done Well, he hadn't left the market because he didn't like it, "ditch.
They sell about a thousand servings a month - the equivalent of 250 kilos of bacon - at 6.50 euros per serving. And from what is observed one Wednesday morning, its owner does not speak in vain: all the diners who take the snack at that time have asked for the same. "Yes, we have noticed that boom of the torrezno", this hotel bar stops, "there is a return to the classic and also a change of attitude in the way of consuming. Years ago, people wanted the more, the better. Regardless of the quality. Now she is more interested in gastronomy and, above all, in eating the best, and thanks to this, traditional recipes are being recovered, which were somewhat banned: people want to try them, only in good places and not every day. day you feel like you go to the best place that prepares them ".
There is also the sentimental issue we were talking about at the beginning: the generation of our grandmothers is disappearing and with them, many of those classic recipes. And given the impossibility of seeing, again, your grandmother at the stove, there is no choice but to return to them from the bar of some of these restaurants that, fortunately, have not forgotten where we came from. And this, the cooks, they know.
"There is a maxim that cooks know and that is that the great vehicle of flavor is fat. And the torrezno combines the taste of pork with the taste of crispy and roasted. And a good torrezno also has several textures for inside and out. And that likes it, "smiles chef Javier Aparicio, knowing that they have us taken by the ventresca.
The secret of the soriana bacon
And, to all this, why is Soria's torrezno so good? What's so special about your bacon? Juanjo Delgado, the technical director of that guarantee brand that accredits it, resolves: "The torrezno de Soria comes from the pork belly marinated, basically, with salt and paprika. And the treatment of the fresh bacon -or belly pork - it is a differential factor: the rest of torreznos are usually made from bacon or skin. Ours, on the other hand, is a tasty combination between bark, lean and a little bit of bacon. "
The weather of that province also helps; suitable for sausages and pork marinated. Something they already knew, apparently, in the Middle Ages. "There are historical references that allude to the fact that in order to verify the degree of conversion of the Jews in the city of Soria, the Holy Inquisition invited them to try torreznos," says Delgado. A form of torture for some, but for others, alas, paradise. And as this goes to eat, we can not finish this ode to torrezno without recommending some sites that are authentic mecca, in addition to those already mentioned.
Where to take them: a brief guide
Note: if you want to try other versions, you can approach any of the three establishments of the Los Torreznos brand. There, José Luis and Alberto Blázquez will offer them torreznos de Ávila. So tasty, they say, like those of Soria, although with something more lean. And this must be true because they have been serving them in Madrid successfully since 1956. They have them for 2.20 euros the unit. Or, they can also taste a sandwich of torreznos for 4.50.
In the capital there is also Casa Revuelta: the tavern to which the article of The guardian when he described the torreznos as those "pieces of deliciously decadent fried bacon". Or Tres por cuatro, a small food house located within the Torrijos market that the coordinator of this holy house, Mònica Escudero, has heard about wonders: "They say that the torreznos that serve in that position are the pear". And in Barcelona, our gastronomic critic, Jordi Luque, advises you to try those of the Carol Winery. "They are like the canons: crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and not suitable for hypertensive people on either side. Of course, they are finer than those found by Soria. Luckily."
He knows what he is talking about. There the torreznos measure about 20 centimeters wide, little joke. Not to mention them, Jordi refers to the ones he tried at the bar El Hogar, in San Leonardo de Yagüe. Where, we said, becomes the best torrezno in today's world. This may sound like this because it was one of our reports of The TV Comidista (here you can see). But if they are in the area, what am I going to tell you: the Soriano restaurant La Chistera was the winner of that same contest in 2016. And, surely, they also know El Portillo. But, curiously, what they do in El Rincón de Medinaceli where, naturally, they serve torreznos -cured with salt and some spice-, but also this modality: Buta no kakuni. Or what is the same: steamed Soria torrezno accompanied by a sweet and sour sauce made with soy, ginger, mirin, sake, rice vinegar and black pepper. The texture is that of a sky tocinillo. From torrezno, you see, everything is used.
Soria torrezno recipe
In case you are encouraged, and have a trusted butcher, here I leave you the original recipe of torrezno de Soria, which Juanjo Delgado gives me: "The skin of the cured bacon should be drier the better as the crust will rise when frying and more crispy. Therefore, we remove the cured bacon from the plastic container or from the refrigerator 24 hours before; we hang it or put it in a cool and dry place so that it sounds good ".
1.- Oil is poured into a pan until the bottom is covered (about 2 mm).
2.- We put the fire in slow fire position (vitro 0-6 in position 2, gas in minimum position).
3.- Cut the bacon into slices of approximately 1.5 centimeters, and place them standing in the pan, that is, with the skin facing down.
4.- They are allowed to fry for about 20 minutes watching that the torreznos do not fall and observing how the characteristic bubbles appear throughout the skin.
5.- After the 20 minutes cited (or when we see that the skin of the torreznos has already become the crust covered with bubbles), we put a live fire (5 in vitro) and put the torreznos to fry them well. About 10 minutes on each side or to your liking.
1.- In the oven, the slices of bacon are placed with the crust facing up.
2.- The oven is heated to 250 degrees with the lower and upper resistors, even, if it has, with the grill.
3.- We will watch that the slices do not fall. Approximately, at 10 minutes the bubbles will begin to appear in the crust.
4.- Once observed that in all the slices the crust bubbles have risen, they are taken out of the oven and fried in a pan, with plenty of oil, until the torreznos are very fried and to your liking.