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myMEGusta

Named for things that please me (“me gusta” in Spanish) and rhymes with balabusta (Yiddish for “good homemaker”).

The Decade of the Bacon?

baconThere was a recent news item regarding the wild popularity of bacon on chic restaurant menus, quite ironic in these days of fear of nitrates, salt and fat.

But there’s no disputing it. This meat may be king right now, but myMEGusta would not call a bacon wrapped (3½ yards the ad screams!) fast food pepperoni/bacon pizza anything vaguely regal.

Bacon is simply a cut of pork belly which has been brined and cured, and is usually served crisply fried. Among the myths about bacon is that baking it will result in less fat (not fried, you know), and the occasional ‘tips’ about how to reduce shrinking. But, if the objective is to minimize fat content and optimize crispiness, you’re best off cooking in plenty of its own fat until achieving the desired color, drain/squeeze like crazy on paper towels to get rid of the fat, then serve immediately.

Canadian Bacon

Canadian Bacon

Canadian bacon is a different cut of cured pork entirely, made from the loin, and, of course, is prepared differently, more sautéed than fried, and an important ingredient in eggs Benedict.  It’s also the yummy meat used in the infamous “Bacon Butty” of Britain. For more on this, and other English treats, go to myMEGusta’s 2014 Fourth of July Special: A Salute to the Brits. http://wp.me/p1VQOz-k5

Chocolate Covered Bacon

Chocolate Covered Bacon

Then there’s the whole subject of chocolate covered bacon, which sounds like an abomination, but is really quite delicious when the chocolate is extremely dark and the best quality, and the bacon is crisp and salty. You can find more pictures in publications like Healthy Living and Low Carb Recipes. (We do not make this stuff up.)

A particularly delicious bacon dish can be found in the bier halls of Munich and elsewhere in Germany. Known as Krustenbraten, this is a roasted pork belly which has been roasted to exquisite crispness on the outside and then served in thick slices.

Krustenbraten

Krustenbraten

Chanterelles with Smoky Bacon and Spaetzle

Chanterelles with Smoky Bacon and Spaetzle

On another occasion, smoky bacon found its way into a delicious dish of chanterelles with spaetzle at the Hotel Landgasthof zum Adler in rural Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, not overwhelmingly meaty, just enough to give a great flavors to the fresh mushrooms.

Italian pancetta, salt cured pork belly, is great to keep on hand in the freezer, and a little goes a long way adding a nice dimension to sauces and soups, as well as being a key ingredient in classics such as Bucatini-all-Amatriciana.

Pancetta

Pancetta

It is sometimes found in the packaged cold cut section, either sliced or diced, but more likely in the deli section, where you can order a thin slice, wrap well, and cut off little pieces as you need them. If thinly sliced, it can be fried like bacon to make a tasty, pretty garnish.bacon pancetta fried

Bucatini-all-amatriciana

Bucatini-all-amatriciana

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One thought on “The Decade of the Bacon?

  1. Good story about bacon. It is delicious when completely crisp. There is a safe, easy way to cook bacon at home without splattering or causing a fire. Cook the bacon in the microwave on a bed of paper towels and covered with paper towels. It takes a few steps changing the towels when needed and checking doneness but it works! Food service uses pre-cooked lay out bacon. The pre- cooked slices are delivered on paper sheets the size of a sheet pan and then baked in the oven. The fire danger is much reduced because there is much less fat. Years ago kitchen fires and serious burns were a terrible hazards when cooking bacon.
    A had to read your story again and looked at the Krustenbraten with Knoedel. What memories!

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