The Bacon Cure Pt. III: It’s Not Just for Breakfast by Mike Verano

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I’m not sure there is anything more satisfying than slicing off strips of homemade bacon and slowing watching them turn into crispy ribbons of tastiness.  On second thought, I am sure that there is nothing more satisfying.  However, like all good things, this leads to a problem.  In this case, the problem facing you, the one that’s going to keep you up at night and occupy many of your waking hours, is trying to figure out the next dish you’re going to prepare featuring the salty, sweet, and smoky flavor that is your bacon creation.

By all means, feel free to start simple and wow yourself with a breakfast platter.  Surround your bacon with the usual suspects; eggs, bagels, toast, grits, or hash browns.  If you want to get jiggy with it (I almost said get jiggy with your piggy) put the bacon inside an omelet, sprinkle bits over your doughnut and, for good measure, go ahead and dip it in your coffee.  Mornings are never going to be the same.

With breakfast complete you can now start planning the rest of your day.  How about a BLT for lunch?  Or perhaps you would prefer a BBB; bacon, bacon and bacon sandwich on whole wheat (just because we’re eating bacon it doesn’t mean we’re not health conscious).   If you’re feeling a little guilty from indulging your inner-carnivore, then, by all means, have a classic Cobb salad (see recipe below).

Now, as the lunch break ends, you can put the finishing touches on the night’s dinner plans.  While you can simply toss strips of bacon on top of whatever you’re already planning, to the cheers of your same-old-supper-weary clan, why not take it up a notch?  Go for the ultimate surf and turf and wrap bacon around your favorite seafood and hit the grill.  We found that bacon wrapped swordfish is about as good as it gets.  But don’t stop there.  Head down to your local seafood supplier, press your nose against the glass case, and let your imagination run wild.  Don’t be surprised if you are told to “Get your nose off the case” as not everyone will understand  your bacon-induced childlike nature.

I hope these last posts have stirred your interest in making your own bacon.  With reports suggesting that bacon prices are going to hit an all-time high this summer, you will be well-served to give it a try.  While others will find themselves wandering through their local grocery stores, bemoaning the fact that they can no longer afford to bring home the bacon, you will be at home thinking up creative uses for all that excess bacon grease.

Classic Cobb Salad

Dressing
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Salad
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, cored and shredded (feel free to substitute your favorite green)
1/2 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 bunch watercress, some of the stems trimmed, chopped
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
6 strips cooked bacon, roughly chopped
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium tomatoes, peeled*, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chives, minced

Make the dressing: Combine the canola oil, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire, sugar, and garlic in a blender. Purée the ingredients to make a smooth dressing and season with salt and pepper. Set the dressing aside.

Make the salad: On a  large platter, combine the iceberg and romaine lettuces along with the watercress. Arrange the blue cheese, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, chicken, and avocado on top of the greens in neat rows. To serve, drizzle salad with dressing, season with salt and pepper, and top with chives. Alternatively, toss everything together in a bowl.

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