Bakin’ bacon, and other sweet and savory stuff
Until a couple weeks ago I’d never baked bacon.
I had heard, from my sister, Wendy, and others, that baking bacon was the only way to go: No greasy frying pan splattering fat all over the place, no turning and watching closely to make sure it didn’t get overcooked, no muss, no fuss.
Not that I eat a lot of bacon. I really don’t. There’s absolutely nothing redeeming about it but the taste. But oh man! The taste! And of course it’s wicked salty.
I might buy bacon three times a year – maybe four. I resist for as long as I can, then I break down and go for it. But when I do have it in the fridge (or freezer – it gets split up into three slices per freezer bag for the next few Sundays) it’s pretty hard to resist.
Sundays are the only day I allow myself to eat it. So let’s see – if I buy it three times a year, and there are like 12 strips in a package, and the package is divided up into … never mind. I don’t eat it that often. But whenever I go out to breakfast I usually make a point of ordering bacon.
And speaking of going out to breakfast, you know who has the best bacon? Baker’s Way in Boothbay Harbor. Baker’s Way Baked Bacon. It’s always cooked to perfection. And when you order a BLT they pile the bacon on. Every time I have one I tell Sarah Morley it’s the best BLT I’ve ever had. And I mean it.
I can pretty much forgo bacon until I smell it cooking. Then I can still forgo it, but it’s not easy.
Anyway. Bakin’ bacon is a breeze. And so far it’s come out better than frying it. May be a fluke, but I’ll keep you posted.
First, if you’re going to splurge on bacon, spring for the more pricey version. And thick cut. (Or thicker than paper thin). If you only have it a couple times a month, what the *^%$%, ya know?
Lay it flat in a baking pan, with or without aluminum foil, and bake at 400 for as long as it takes. I like it chewy as opposed to crispy, so mine takes around 10 minutes. That’s all folks. It cooks evenly and doesn’t get all curled up at the ends.
Last time I was in Hannaford a guy went up to the meat counter and somewhat sheepishly asked the butcher for three of the slices of very thickly sliced bacon. I thought, hmmm, I can do that next time.
That real thick stuff reminded me of a Christmas meal a few years ago with Cushing relatives at cousin Rich’s. His sister, my cousin Gail, made sweet and savory bacon.
Sweet and savory is the real key to great tasting food. The combination is usually undeniably toothsome. And good bacon already contains that combination – with more emphasis on the savory. But with the brown sugar baked on top of it? Just try it.
Here’s a recipe from Epicurious, not that you really need one: Preheat the oven to 400. Lay a pound of thick-cut bacon slices on a foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle 1/3 cup brown sugar over. Bake around 15 to 18 minutes. Martha Stewart cooks hers at 350 for around 1/2 hour. And she adds some cracked black pepper to it. Next time.
How unhealthy can THAT be? Seriously: Sodium, fat and sugar. Just kidding. You might as well have some deep-fried ice cream for dessert.
Speaking of sweet and savory for breakfast, I’m a firm believer in both. When I go out to breakfast I always sit there debating – savory: Eggs, bacon, toast with butter; or something like a crepe with fruit and whipped cream. It’s a tough decision.
I had brunch at the Carriage House a couple weeks ago with my brother, Peter, and niece, Sophia. We all ordered eggs Benedict because Kelly’s sous vide-prepared eggs Benedict is totally ridiculous.
Then Sophia ordered some brioche French toast with maple syrup, too. She said she always has sweet and savory for breakfast. She takes after me :-) Luckily she shared.
If I do have a simply savory breakfast I’ll often have dessert. It will depend on what’s in the fridge.
See ya next week!