Did you notice how PORK was on everybody’s mind these days? Well, unless you leave in a cave, you should have. What with the swine flu, pork cheeks, pork butts, Little Giant’s Swine of the week, Park Slope Pork-Off, not to forget my Pork Shoulder of course, David Chang’s love affair with pork. Et j’en passe.
I have to say that this is actually to my liking. I love Pork. For many reasons:
- it is cheap
- it reminds me of my father (the venerable man was infatuated with pork, especially pork chops)
- it is versatile
- and it is cheap
- also my mother (who grew up in a farm) told me that pigs were very nice pets and she would always have a pig following her around all day long (that is, before the poor animal was slaughtered).
And, like a lot of people, one of my favorite cuts is BACON. Why? Well, for the afore-mentioned reasons. The good thing about bacon is that it is a cheap and a quick way to give that soup this smokey flavor it lacked. Or to turn regular pates au fromage (the French version of the Mac&Cheese) into some sort of carbonara.
One of the problems I faced when I emigrated here though, was that bacon was not cut to my taste. Or rather, packages were so huge I was always afraid bacon would go bad. And I hate to throw food away. So I found my own little trick: I freeze it, and slice it while it’s still frozen (this way I can put the rests back in the freezer). See the picture: it’s cool, he? OK, I guess that doesn’t really work when you want your slices of bacon for breakfast. But I don’t usually do this. It’s not in my culture.
So what do I do with bacon? Pretty much everything:
- Soups: I always add a little bacon in my soups – to give it that extra flavor of meat, fat & smoke. Granted, it is not as good as throwing the bone from the roast, but it’s pretty close. (I have the most joyful memory of a soup made by my then-best-friend’s-mother when I was a kid in the Lot (merveilleux Lot, country of melons and asparagus), cooked in the antic fireplace (and, no, I swear, I am not making this up) where she threw the rests of the night before’s roti. That was memorable. It could also be nice to add a little bacon to your chicken stock (because yes, you HAVE to make your chicken stock yourself, no excuse).
- Add bacon to your pasta – to turn it either in carbonara (see for example my Baby Spinach Carbonara), or to your Bolognese sauce.
- And of course, bacon is good with eggs. Very good even. Particularly in Quiche Lorraine I must say. Or any form of quiche you may think of.
Last but not least: I would advise AGAINST buying the cheapest bacon you could find. You know I am cheap. So I tried. But it was gross, let me tell you. I could barely find the bacon once I had sautee it. So please buy the good stuff. Also, when I sautee bacon (especially for Quiche Lorraine), I usually get rid of the fat before adding any other ingredients.