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A bacony nest of mixed salad greens topped with garlic dressing. Photo by Bernie Hunhoff.
A bacony nest of mixed salad greens topped with garlic dressing. Photo by Bernie Hunhoff.

Bacon Weaving

Mar 22, 2012

A few years ago, my brother the redneck suggested that my family start celebrating Lent by eating twice as much meat on Fridays as we normally do. The idea was to offset the springtime drop in meat consumption by Lenten traditionalists, but the joy of sauntering into the Volin Café and gently taunting his observant friends by ordering a double bacon hamburger may have been another deciding factor for him.

Now I don’t eat much meat as a rule, but Double Meat Fridays have turned out to be a useful concept. It’s a gentle reminder to work on my Christmas present from the redneck: 15 pounds of bacon. It was clearly a gift of love, but rather a daunting amount of pork belly for one person. 

Our brother Luke was sensible with his Christmas bacon. He divided it amongst his foodie friends, who came up with some fantastic concoctions and brought the finished dishes to a bacon party/competition. There were bacon-wrapped scallops, maple-bacon cupcakes, bacon jam, cheesy bacon potatoes and who knows what all else. The day went by in a smoky, salty haze. Glorious.

It was a fine idea. If I’d been smart, I would have copied it. Sadly, when it comes to bacon, I am not smart. I don’t know how to share. So it’s become a challenge to figure out how to do justice to such an amazing present without overdosing on fried pork. My brothers and I did some brainstorming. Perhaps an apple pie would be enriched by a crispy bacon lattice top. Maybe we could construct bacon cages to encase other, lesser foods. How about bacon-wrapped bacon with crumbled bacon on top, plus melted bacon fat or butter on the side for dipping? Ok, that may be crossing the lines of good taste.

There’s no shortage of bacon cooking ideas on the internet, but I found I was most drawn to the idea of weaving uncooked bacon into mats or, even better, into bowl shapes, and baking until delicious. Think of the potential applications! You could put a salad in one of those little bacony nests! Fill them with Swedish pancakes and douse it all in syrup! You could even dip them in chocolate and serve ice cream inside. The possibilities are endless.


 

Bacon Cups

From The Not Martha Blog

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover the back of a large muffin pan or metal bowls with foil and weave bacon strips around the backs. Be generous with the bacon — it will shrink and leave gaps in your cups. Set the pan in a cookie sheet with a rim to catch the dripping fat. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until crispy, checking occasionally for oven fires. Carefully remove bacon cups to a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve bacon fat for later use.

Comments

09:23 am - Thu, March 22 2012
I know you and most people would think this is ridiculous...But, one can fry bacon in a little butter....After bacon is crisp...or however you like it....then pour off the drippin's....put the bacon strips on a paper towel. You'll be delighted in the wonderful flavor the butter adds to the bacon.
09:40 am - Thu, March 22 2012
Laura said:
No, I don't think it's ridiculous. I thought I was from a family of butter fans, but you outdo us. I am in awe of your ability to incorporate butter in places where it never would've occurred to me to try it.

You've got me wondering now, though — has the Norwegian butter crisis been resolved yet?
10:44 am - Thu, March 22 2012
*Just Fran* said:
I have always wanted to make bacon bowls for salads, but haven't taken the time. Hubs is not a salad fan, but bacon makes everything better. (BTW...I have a French Toast Cupcake recipe with Maple Bacon Frosting sitting on the counter waiting for my attention.)
11:24 am - Thu, March 22 2012
Veronica Zweber said:
I am definitely going to make the Bacon Bowls. Lovely presentation! I grew up in a family who saved the drippings and cooked and fried everything in it! Still do to this day. My Mother uses it instead of butter or margarine in her "Chex" Mix, a tip we learned from my former Mother~in~law! I buy the bacon bits and pieces and bake them on a cookie sheet in the oven, cut them into pieces with a kitchen shears and freeze in portions for eggs, salads, or any # of dishes!!! Bacon does make meals taste better! Plus, this gives me an endless supply of bacon grease,... Mmmm!!!
02:54 pm - Thu, March 22 2012
Laura said:
Fran- Hard not to be a fan of salad encased in bacon. It's pretty easy, really. Much easier than Not Martha's Chocolate Easter Surprise Egg concept. I like fiddly things, but would never attempt these:
http://www.notmartha.org/archives/2010/03/30/chocolate-easter-surprise-eggs/

Also, feel free to whip up a batch of those cupcakes and come visit us in Yankton. They sound fabulous!

Veronica - Bacon fat in Chex mix, eh? Sounds like a deal to me. I've been meaning to try my step-great-grandmother's recipe for bacon fat cookies...I'll let you know how those work out. It's a sin to waste bacon drippings.
03:46 pm - Thu, March 22 2012
Just Fran....please share that recipe...for the French Toast Cupcakes...It sounds really good. Thanks.

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