Jeff Biesinger is a big-time fan of makin' bacon, as featured in today's Buffalo News. He cooked up a couple of dishes that show off bacon's meatier side. Here's his notes.
Frisee Salad with Lardons
¾ pound lean slab bacon, cut into ½ -inch dice
2 cups diced baguette (½ inch)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
8 large eggs
Peanut or vegetable oil
3 large shallots, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Two 1-pound heads frisée, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
In a large skillet, cook half the bacon over moderate heat until just crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a bowl and repeat with the remaining bacon. Pour all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat into a small glass measuring cup.
Reheat the bacon fat in the skillet. Add the diced baguette and cook over moderately high heat, stirring a few times, until crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer the croutons to a plate to cool. Toss in the bowl with the bacon.
Bring a large skillet of water to a boil. Add the white wine vinegar. Break 1 of the eggs into a small cup and slide the egg into the water. Repeat with 3 more eggs. Simmer over moderate heat until the whites are firm and the yolks are soft, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the poached eggs to a large platter lined with paper towels. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Keep the poaching water at a low simmer.
Measure the reserved bacon fat into a large skillet. Add enough peanut oil to equal 1/3 cup. Add the shallots, season generously with salt and pepper and cook over low heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in the red wine vinegar and remove the dressing from the heat.
Return the poached eggs to the simmering water to reheat for 30 to 40 seconds. Bring the dressing back to a simmer over low heat. Add the frisée to the bacon and croutons in the bowl, add the hot dressing and toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Mound the salad in serving bowls or on plates and top each with a poached egg. Serve at once.
Make Ahead: The eggs can be poached up to 2 hours ahead. Refrigerate and bring to room temperature before reheating. Place in a saucepan of simmering water for 30 to 40 seconds, drain, pat dry and serve.
Asian bacon buns
(Inspired by Momofuku)
1 seedless cucumber
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup oil-cured chiles (recipe below)
1 package Chinese “lotus leaf” buns*
½ pound slab bacon
Sriracha chile sauce
Mix salt and sugar. Thinly slice cucumber, and toss with mix to coat. Let sit 5-10 min. Check for salt; if too salty, rinse well and dry.
Cut slab bacon into matchbook-sized chunks about ¼ - 3/8 inch thick. Fry slices until heated through and crisp.
Steam “lotus leaf” buns according to package directions (microwaving 45 seconds under damp paper towel works great).
To assemble: Open bun, brush with hoisin or sriracha.
Lay down a few slices of cucumber. Insert bacon. Top with a few oil-cured chiles, if using. Serve.
* Available in the freezers at Ni Hoowa Supermarket, 3175 Sheridan Drive, Amherst
Salty Oil-Cured Chilies
(adapted from Zakary Pelaccio's "Eat With Your Hands")
Start with a couple cups of spicy chiles (Thai bird, etc. I like to mix some colors)
Thin slice them and liberally salt them (Kosher salt); put salted peppers in something so they can drain for an hour.
Rinse and put the salted sliced chiles in an empty jar.
Heat enough oil (grapeseed or other neutral oil) to cover the chiles, to 325° or so.
Pour the hot oil into the jar and let it chill for a few hours or overnight.
You serve the chiles with farmers cheese. (Wegmans has big tubes that you need them to cut so you don't end up with 5 pounds.)
The cheese and chiles go on dinner rolls. Pepperidge Farms are the bomb but Wegmans brand work if that's all they have.
- Jeff Biesinger