Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I love bacon, who doesn't?

It’s not hard to love bacon, it makes you fall in love with it, I don’t know how it is done, it must be some black magic, because it can’t just be about the taste. The great taste. A lot of things taste great, but I don’t fall in love. I like apricot jam a lot, but not like bacon. It’s special. I think about it all the time. I wonder what is the best way to cook it. Here are my options. 

The old fashioned, in the frying pan kind. It is easy, just keep an eye on it and turn it over a few times. It makes a big mess, that is it’s biggest problem. The good part is that it smells great, and you have all that great bacon fat rendered and corralled in the pan. You can use it for cooking something else. It keeps on giving! It takes under ten minutes from start to finish.

You can microwave it.  Just get a plate, put a paper towel down, put four or five pieces of bacon on that, cover with a second paper towel, put it in the microwave and cook for about four minutes. You have a lot less mess and crisp bacon in half the time. Just uncover the bacon, put it on a plate, remove the paper towels to the trash and you are done. You have no rendered bacon fat to speak of, unless you wring out the paper towels, and believe me, you don’t want to try that. Just take my word for it.

And then there is the oven method. Get a large cookie sheet with a lip. Cover with aluminum foil. This makes clean-up so much easier. Put strips of bacon on the sheet. Put down as much as it will hold. Turn the oven to 400 degrees, put the bacon covered tray in. Don’t preheat the oven, it’s fine this way. Close the door and do something else for about fifteen minutes. Start checking on the bacon, it should be done somewhere from seventeen to twenty minutes. Try not to let it burn. Take it out, transfer bacon to paper towel covered plates to absorb some of the fat. Pour the remaining fat into a heavy cup or jar and save to use later. Throw the aluminum foil away. You are done. If you want crisper bacon, put a rack down on the cookie sheet and place the bacon on that so air can circulate below it.

I rather like the oven method. You can make a lot of bacon at one time, you can control crispiness, you still get to harvest the rendered fat! Three wonderful things in one simple method, it is perfection.

The only improvement I can think of is when I stuff Medjool dates with spicy almonds, wrap them in bacon and cook in the oven until the bacon is crisp, the date is warm and creamy and a spicy almond hides within. These are wonderful on Christmas Eve with Manhattans. Just take my word for it.

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