Archive for April, 2019

Mac and Grease, aka Mac ‘n’ Bacon

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

 

 

Cooking bacon

From page 188, Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon: Stories of Pork Bellies, Hush Puppies, Rock ‘n’ Roll Music and Bacon Fat Mayonnaise:

Ingredients:

1/2 pound really good macaroni (I swear by the Martelli family’s)
8 ounces sliced bacon (about 4 to 6 slices)(I like Benton’s because the simplicity of the dish gets its full smokiness out front)
Coarse sea salt to taste
Freshly ground Tellicherry black pepper to taste

Procedure:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add lots of salt, then pasta. Stir well.

While the pasta is cooking, fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until done. Remove the bacon from the pan, reserving the hot fat in the skillet. Chop the bacon and stand by. As soon as the pasta is almost al dente, drain it well and add it to the skillet along with the bacon. Toss well and cook for another minute or two, so that the grease really cooks into the macaroni. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper to taste. Serve immediately in hot bowls.

Optional additions:

“Enh,” Meg wrote me a day or so after she’d sent the original recipe (the word means “yes”  in Ojibway). “Try the mac and grease with a few big garden tomatoes cut into 1-inch cubes.” It’s incredibly simple—just chunks of really good tomato tossed into the hot bacon fat for a minute or two with some salt before the pasta goes into the skillet. “The tomatoes,” she said, should “get hot but not saucy, if you know what I mean. I did, and I made the dish and it was, again, in its simplicity, really, really good. Of course it’s only worth doing when the tomatoes are in season. The rest of the year you could gussy up your Mac and Grease by tossing in chopped vegetables or greens of most any sort, and cooking until they’re somewhere between soft and golden brown. Thinking more exotically, I want to throw chopped hickory nuts on top, too. You, of course, can do whatever you like. Like most pasta dishes, this one lends itself to hundreds of variations.

Serves 2 as a main course, or 4 as a side dish


It’s Time for Bacon!

Monday, April 1st, 2019

From the book that started it all, Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon, we bring you the 10th Annual Camp Bacon!

To celebrate, we’ll be sharing recipes from the book with you. Come see us at Camp and learn more. We hope to see you there!

Wilted Salad

A great all-American dish dating back to the Colonial era, wilted salad uses bacon fat as the basis for a dressing in much the same way that olive oil is used to dress greens in the Mediterranean. The heat of the bacon dressing wilts the greens—hence the name. April McGreger, who grew up with bacon fat as the basis for a lot of her family’s food, told me that they called this “killt lettuce”—because the lettuce is “slain” by the hot fat, not because of any connection to Scottish menswear. The bacon’s flavor is a big part of the dish, so use whatever variety strikes your fancy. Because the fat will solidify once it cools, the dressing must be served warm.

Ingredients:

6 ounces mixed greens, washed and dried

6 ounces sliced bacon (about 3 to 4 slices)

2 scallions (greens and whites), thinly sliced

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

½ teaspoon sugar

Coarse sea salt to taste

2 ounces cheddar cheese, diced (optional)

¼ cup walnuts or hickory nuts, lightly toasted and chopped (optional)

Freshly ground Tellicherry black pepper to taste

 

Procedure:

Place the greens in a large, heat-proof serving bowl.

Fry the bacon in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove from the skillet, drain and chop it. Reserve about 4 tablespoons of fat in the skillet (augment with a glug from your backup supply if necessary).

Add the sliced scallions to the pan and cook for a minute. Pour in the cider vinegar, sugar and a pinch of salt. Stir well and boil lightly for a minute.

If you’re using cheese or toasted nuts, distribute them over the greens. Pour the hot dressing over the top, toss well and sprinkle with the bits of cooked bacon and plenty of fresh pepper. Serve warm.

Serves 2 as a main course, or 4 as a side dish