Guanciale and Egg Fried Rice
Chinese roast pork, Spam, Vienna sausages and even hot dog slices have made it into fried rice. Doesn’t it seem like guanciale is at least as good an option? Its salty, fatty goodness is a perfectly luxurious foil to the comforting rice.
Cook the guanciale in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, 5-7 minutes. Remove the guanciale from the pan with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the fat and set aside. Add the onions to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until they just start to take on color. Add the garlic and ginger to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer the onion mixture with a slotted spoon to the bowl with the guanciale.
Increase the heat to medium-high. Add 3 tablespoons of the reserved fat back into the skillet and add the rice, tossing to coat with the oil. Spread the rice gently into a flat layer and let it cook, undisturbed, for 2 minutes. This will dry out the rice and form a slight crust on the bottom. Toss and let it cook for another 2 minutes. Push the rice to the sides of the pan to form a well in the center. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved fat to the well and pour the eggs in, stirring constantly to scramble them. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Once they set, stir the eggs into the rice and add the peas, guanciale and onion mixture, 1 tablespoon soy sauce (if using), and sesame oil. Cook until peas are warmed through, about 1 minute. Adjust seasonings — add more soy sauce, little by little, if you’d like it saltier. Stir in most of the scallions, transfer to a large bowl or platter, and serve. Garnish with remaining scallions.
Chinese families will go to battle over whether to add soy sauce to fried rice. Many do not. We like the addition of it here despite our attempts to be traditional whenever possible. Sometimes breaking tradition tastes better.