Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Comfort me with lardons

Oh Lardons, how I love you. You are the happy little love children of pork belly and bacon. Succulent cubes of fat and flavor, you crisp and crackle on the outside and turn melty in the middle. You are the foie gras of pork.

In an effort to force spring's arrival in Minnesota we've been purchasing a lot of sausages from Kramarczuk's in Minneapolis, hoping that the grill will dry out and we can spend a warm evening cooking our dinner over hot charcoal. Knowing that, for now, a lit grill is only a dream, I also order a slab of uncut bacon and comfort myself with lardons. 

The chunks of bacon are best placed in a saute pan and cooked in a 375 degree oven until the fat is rendered out and the cubes are crisp and dark brown, about 30 minutes; stir the lardons or rotate the pan after the first 15 minutes. Pour off fat and save for later use. Add lardons to salads, stir-fry, hash, waffles, quiche, etc. They'd even be great in peanut butter cookies or brownies. The lardon possibilities are endless!

Happy Hour Glazed Lardons
1/2 pound slab bacon, cut into cubes
1/4 cub maple syrup, honey, or preserves of choice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Place cubed bacon in a saute pan and cook in a 375 degree oven until the fat is rendered out and the cubes are crisp and dark brown; about 30 minutes. Stir the lardons or rotate the pan after the first 15 minutes. Pour off fat.  
 
Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees. 

Toss pork with maple syrup, honey, or preserves, and cayenne pepper. Return to the oven for 3 to 5 minutes. 

Serve hot with vodka martinis and fantasize about running barefoot through the warm dry grass.

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