Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Belly of the beast: Bacon challenge!

I am not often inspired by restaurant food. 
This is mostly because, when I go out to eat, it’s some cheap hole in the wall that makes the sort of ethnic food that I’m not prepared to make at home. 
This is an exception: at Metropolitan Grill in Seattle - our extremely expensive celebratory dinner place of choice - there was an interesting side dish available: bacon with Meyer lemon caramel and sweet onions. The combination was something I’d heard before, but the preparation was what was really interesting to me: the bacon was thick cut, and I mean THICK, like three quarters of an inch thick. and crispy, glazed with this sweet lemon caramel, and drenched in large rings of caramelized onions. Like...wow.

So when, for this month’s #charcutepalooza challenge, we had the opportunity to make fresh bacon, this was immediately what leaped to mind.

I used ruhlman’s method for making fresh bacon, so I won’t bother to post the recipe here; his is excellent. 

I WILL say that I was shocked by how easy, how simple it was to pull off. 
Probably, the week of curing time and 2.5 hours of roasting notwithstanding, maybe half an hour of work.

My preparation, inspired by the Met, uses blood oranges instead of Meyer lemons because I didn’t feel like going to the store.

Blood orange caramel glaze:
  • 1.25 cups sugar
  • .5 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup blood orange juice
  • .25 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of kosher salt
  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the lemon juice, sugar, and water to a rapid boil.
  2. Lower the heat to a rolling boil and cook until the mixture to a golden brown. DO NOT STIR.
  3. Remove from the heat and slowwwwly add the blood orange juice. 
  4. Once the mixture calms down, return to heat, whisk together and add the salt and pepper. 
  5. Bring back to a boil, then remove from heat entirely and let cool.

Caramelized sweet onions:
  • Sweet onions (maui, vidalia) cut into large rings
  • 1 tsp bacon grease
  • 1 tsp butter
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch sugar
  1. melt the bacon grease and butter together.
  2. Add the onions, salt, pepper and sugar.
  3. Cook the onions over medium high heat until mostly translucent and browned on the edges.
  4. Lower the heat and cook until caramelized.
The bacon:
Set the oven to 450 degrees.
Cut the bacon about 3/4 of an inch thick. Lay on tinfoil on a sheet pan so that the glaze doesn't get everywhere. 
Cook for 10 minutes.
Glaze on a bit of the caramel sauce, then flip.
Cook another 10 minutes, glaze on some more sauce and cook another minute.
Assemble: Onions, then bacon, then some drizzled sauce. I had some skin that I crisped up as well.


Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Oh my goodness gracious me! Blood orange caramel glaze? Sinfully delicious by itself - but with BACON? Mmmm.

Annapet said...

What Mardi said! And I love your LOGO!