How to get the Best from your Bacon

Published / Written by Anna Scott / No Comments Yet

Unless you’re a vegetarian or don’t eat it for religious reasons, I don’t think I need to remind the average meat-lover of the merits of bacon. I mean, it’s pretty much everyone’s dream food, right? It’s probably on many folks’ list of ‘foods I can’t live without’ or ‘my favourite smells’ or ‘Top 10 sandwiches to eat before you die.’ Or similar. But as well as being incredibly delicious, it’s also a very useful thing to have in the fridge on a regular basis when it comes to rustling up a quick and easy meal…

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One of the very best (non-tasty) things about bacon is that it lasts for ages. I’ve written before about the perils of buying meat, sticking it in the fridge and never getting around to eating before it starts to smell a bit funny, and of course bacon has a use-by date like any other meat, but by its cured nature, this is normally some date so far into the future that you don’t need to worry about it in the short term (but always check just in case folks – you never know).

So what about those easy meal ideas? Let’s start with the obvious – the bacon sandwich. Maybe not an evening meal as such, but a perfectly acceptable lunch or weekend breakfast. I’m not a massive fan of the classic BLT – it reminds me too much of horrific cold and greasy, undercooked, pre-packaged offerings from service stations – but give me a few crispy rashers between two slabs of buttered sliced white with a dollop of tomato ketchup and I’m a happy woman. And yes, in my humble opinion, the bacon needs to be crispy.

So now you’ve come back from making your sandwich, I think I should sing a few more bacon virtues – I probably use it most often in pasta sauces. It’s versatile, and due to its saltiness, packs a massive flavour punch. My favourite way is to fry it with some chopped onions until crispy, add a tin of chopped tomatoes, some pepper, a splash of Worcestershire Sauce, and some tomato puree. Simmer until it starts to thicken then add a couple generous tablespoons of soft cheese or crème fraiche, then heat through and stir into your pasta. I also love to fry it up with some aubergines – aubergines love salty things and bacon is the saltiest of things. And of course, you can always go with the classic carbonara – that half packet of smoky back bacon may not be top notch pancetta but it will more than suffice.

Another common use in my home is in salads, and as the sun is shining today, I think it’s safe to say that salads might be back on the menu soon (hopefully). So whether it’s as part of a classic Chicken Caesar, or just crumbled on top of your favourite leaves with some coleslaw on the side, that bit of bacon won’t go amiss when making you salad slightly less healthy (but a lot tastier).

And lastly, I’m just going to remind you that bacon, eggs (whichever way you desire) and toast make a perfectly acceptable dinner as well as breakfast. And lunch. And midnight feast if you so desire…