Photo credit: StockFood
Baconmania is a full-blown thing, and nowadays, the list of dishes on a menu where bacon isn’t an ingredient is a lot shorter than those where it is. For many cooks, this borders on a reflex to make a pork-lover’s heart jump for joy: When in doubt, JUST ADD BACON.
Since it triggers a near-universal craving (even among many, many dedicated vegetarians), the magic meat finds its way into every nook and cranny of modern-day food culture. Its salt and smoke work equally well with sweet and savory dishes, and you’d be hard pressed to find a place the crispy, meaty treat hasn’t invaded.
Everyone’s heard tell of the iconic Elvis Sandwich—peanut butter, banana and bacon fried on the griddle—which may well be the precursor of the current “bacon everywhere” mindset. Here are a few other unexpected combos:
Oysters en Brochette (Galatoire’s Restaurant, New Orleans, Louisiana)
Imagine a skewer of flour-dusted oysters on a skewer, interwoven with a thick slice of bacon. Then deep fry the whole contraption, drizzle it with melted butter and gently squeeze lemon over it. This masterful savory appetizer at an old-school Creole eatery plays salty pig against the gentle ocean: The interplay of crunchy and creamy textures are just knockout.
Bacon Baklava (Maple Bak’nlava)
Poke around a bit, and you’ll find a near-infinite number of bacon-themed desserts—some more appealing than others. There’s candied bacon, caramel-dipped bacon fudge, and an inventive apple pie with a bacon lattice-top crust. (Heck, yes!) But the prize for after-dinner inventiveness has to go to this recipe for Bak’nLava—the maple-walnut-baklava marriage of two crispy classics into an inspiring bit of Mediterranean madness.
Maple Bacon Ale (Voodoo Doughnuts/Rogue Brewery, Portland, Oregon)
Thanks to the savory-salty counterpoint bacon lends to the morning meal, American palates have had little problem embracing the combo of flavors like pancake syrup or leftover waffle sugar with bacon. From there, it was a quick leap to the top of a yeasty, oblong doughnut (thanks to the borderline insane folks at Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland) and a not-so-quick leap to the beer bottle (thanks to Voodoo fans Rogue Brewery). In a move defying both logic and credulity, this dark-brown, spicy-smoky porter is one of three doughnut-themed beers put out by Rogue. Since the line includes both pretzel /chocolate/raspberry and chocolate/banana/peanut butter, it begs the question: HAS Elvis left the building?