From bacon milkshakes to bacon candy to bacon martinis, today’s best chefs have come up with countless recipes to showcase the crisp, salty and sweet meat.
New ideas and venerable classics alike tap into perhaps the quintessential carnivore’s truism: Bacon makes everything better. Its versatility is second only to its deep, smoky flavor.
“Bacon has an ability to bring out and amplify the flavors of whatever it is paired with,” says Chris Koetke, vice president of the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts. “Historically, bacon was prized because of the preservation technique (You’ve just slaughtered an animal...what do you do now? Smoke it.) and because of the fat. You couldn’t buy a bottle of olive oil 150 years ago.”
Present day, Koetke laughs when bacon is called a trend, but he allows that there’s definitely been a widespread realization that “this is a commodity, but it’s so much more than a commodity.”
Using bacon as a seasoning, rendering flavor from the fat early in the cooking process and a bit of letting your imagination run wild will expand bacon menu horizons and yes— make everything better. Don’t forget riffing on the BLT for some truly trendy results (see Beyond The BLT).
Making the Most of Bacon Flavor
“Adding bacon on top of things is great, but that’s the easy answer,” says Larry Finney, executive chef, Sodexo, Harborview Dining Room, Federal Reserve Plaza, Boston, MA. Bacon has inspired Finney to create such dishes as Apricot, Rhubarb & Bacon Mini Tarts and Corn Bacon Pasillo Chili Soup with a Cheddar Bacon Biscuit.
Coaxing the most intense flavor out of bacon can lead to us- ing less of it, a good thing, since fat is no longer quite as prized as it was in the 1800s.