Bacon has become the Paris Hilton of the culinary world—it’s EVERYWHERE these days. There’s bacon-flavored condiments, bacon-flavored ice cream, bacon for freakin’ dogs! And we all know Paula Deen is like 87% bacon.
But for all this coverage, bacon really is a divine little piece of pig. Sans the saturated fat issue (which can be monitored), it’s a marvelous way to add depth and goodness to a variety of dishes…as long as you’re sensible about it. Read on for some heartfelt bacon justification.
The Saturation Factor
We all know we should stay away from saturated fat for obvious, well-publicized reasons. But while it’s not as healthy as a carrot, the right bacon may not be the Sat Fat Villain you thought. Center cut bacon has roughly 30% less fat that regular bacon. We’re talking around 10% of your daily allowance for 3 pieces. Not bad, really—that’s less fat than a pack of peanut butter crackers. Plus, if you cook it on a tray in the microwave or on a rack in the oven, you cut that number down even more.
Everything’s Better with Bacon
I’m not trying to whore out my bacon like everyone else, but there are some times when bacon can make a big difference. Here are three ways I’ve used this delicious pig item recently…
Pigs in the Pea Patch
David and I have become a little obsessed with the Pepper Place Farmers‘ Market. And we couldn’t be more excited about the peas. Black-eyed, pink-eyed purple-hulled, crowder, and our favorite…hee hee…Lady Peas! My favorite way to cook these is to cut up a couple slices of center cut bacon into a saucepan over medium heat, maybe add a little chopped onion, some salt and pepper, then the peas. Toss them to coat in the bacony goodness, then cover with reduced-sodium chicken stock. Bring to simmer, then cover, reduce heat, and cook 30 minutes to an hour until soft and delicious. Be sure to serve with cornbread.
Speaking of Cornbread…
This is a little obscene, and probably totally unnecessary, but when I thought of the idea I giggled and clapped my hands like an excited schoolgirl. Okay, so like Matthew, I do cornbread in a cast iron skillet. But like my Mom taught me, I usually add oil to the skillet and preheat it with the oven, so that you get a nice crust. Anyway, my big idea was to throw a slice of bacon in the skillet instead of oil. I don’t know—just sounded fun. Not sure that it made that big of difference, but it was a lot more fun that canola oil. And I poured off most of the oil, so it really wasn’t that gratuitous…I like to think that it enrobed the cornbread with Bacony Essence. LOL.
Last one. Again, not to sound like Paula Deen (who stresses me out because I just know she is going to have a massive on-air heart attack and fall into her deep fryer!), but pig- on-pig action is a good thing. Take a pork tenderloin, pierce it half-way through every inch or so with a paring knife, and stud it with a peeled cloves of garlic. Top with thyme and rosemary, salt and pepper. Then grab some center cut bacon slices, and kinda do a loose wrap. It doesn’t have to cover perfectly. Just bake that sucker up and it’s real, real nice.
Alright…that’s enough pork action for today. Time for me to go home and eat a salad. With bacon on top. 😉