Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Boiling Bacon (or Sautéing Bacon the Ruhlman Way)

Boiling Bacon?
After making Ruhlman's Coq au Vin, I was left with half a package of bacon... not a tragedy by any measure, and a situation easily remedied... but while paging through his 20 I ran across a recipe for sautéing bacon in water that just had to try. It's so simple you don't even really need a recipe: 1) put bacon in pan 2) cover with water 3) cook on high until water boils off 4) turn down to medium low until bacon is done to your desired crispness.

Now, this obviously takes a lot longer than cooking bacon in the pan normally, so what's the point? It tenderizes the bacon making it significantly softer with less chew. I didn't perform a side by side taste test, but I found it to be a pretty dramatic difference to your standard bacon. Obviously if you like your bacon so crisp that it shatters into fragments with a stern look then this method is of no use to you.

Now we are Frying

A concern here is the water leeching out the smokiness of our bacon... after all boiling in water is how you turn bacon into lardons... but since you boil all the water off you get all that flavor back in the glorious fat.

Finished Product

I've long been of the opinion that making bacon in the oven was bay far the best method... but when not making it for a crowd this really might be the way to go. You get a more tender product and none of that "curled up" bacon you get in a pan that irritates me to no end. (What? I like aesthetically consistent pork products, so sue me) I definitely recommend you try it.