Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
The world has gone bacon crazy, and unfortunately it has nothing to do with the food item actually made from pork belly. I’m talking about products sold in tubes, squeeze bottles, jars, cans and tablets, all flashing the word “Bacon!” as it’s only selling point and not an ounce of real pork in its ingredients. Apparently, that one word is so powerful, the products are still flying off the shelves!
I’ve seen “bakon” vodka (Twitter member @MarcSeattle said it tastes like “bac-os mixed with motor oil”), zero-calorie bacon flavor spray packaged in a hairspray-like bottle by celebrity chef David Burke, cardboard bacon air freshener that you can dangle from your rearview mirror and even bacon-flavored lip balm. When did pretending to staple two strips of fatty pig to lips become sexy?
I recently visited a friend who happens to be a vegetarian. Before I could even put my purse down and exchange pleasantries, she excitedly thrust a jar at me, “This is my newest obsession…bacon flavored mayonnaise…Baconnaise! Isn’t it genius!?” Though I have to admit, it’s not that bad in a sandwich. And I get the excitement, especially for those who are omnivores-turned-vegetarians but miss the whole meat flavor thing.
For me, I’d rather have the real deal. Spraying “bacon” flavoring on my eggs in the morning just seems so pathetic! And there’s no better way to enjoy steak than to slather it with a butter made of real bacon and real blue cheese!
First thing you’ve gotta do is cook your bacon and then mince it up in teeny tiny pieces. You should also crumble your blue cheese if it’s not crumbled already.
Soften your butter to room temperature — I use unsalted butter because the bacon and blue cheese are already salty. Smash, smush and mix with a fork.
Grab a large piece of parchment paper and plop down your bacon near the edge.
Now time to dust off your cigar-rolling/cigarette rolling or whatever rolling skills you have and roll the butter tight in the parchment paper, smoothing and evening out the butter so that it becomes a nice, tight, even log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Though, really, size doesn’t matter in this case. If you want a bigger butter log, go for it. But make sure you’re rolling and smoothing tight because you don’t want air bubbles or lumps.
Twist the ends tight (to compact butter even more). Refrigerate until firm, an hour should do the trick …or if you run out of time, stick it in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Ladies and gent…may I present to you umami-ness….Bacon and Blue Cheese Butter. Open that baby up and slice into 1/2-inch coins. You can use this butter on vegetables, fish, baked potatoes….ooooh….baked potatoes….
….or top a hot, just-taken-off-the-grill steak with a slab of this precious Bacon and Blue Cheese Butter.
Why use plain butter when it’s so easy to make your own compound butter? My latest combination is real bacon and blue cheese, perfect for topping a fresh-off-the grill steak. The butter keeps in the refrigerator for about a week. If you’re not a fan of bacon and blue cheese, just pick your favorite spices and/or herbs to mix with the butter. I also like garlic-parsley-smoked paprika (use a garlic press to smush 1-2 cloves garlic + 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh parsley + 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika + good pinch of salt).
1 strip bacon, cut into 3 pieces
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened to room temperature
1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
9-inch x 13-inch piece parchment paper
Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp (or use your preferred method of bacon cooking). Drain, pat dry and chop the bacon into very fine pieces. Add the bacon, blue cheese crumbles and the butter in a bowl and use a fork to mix well.
Lay the parchment paper flat with the long side facing you. Spoon the butter mixture near the bottom of the paper. Roll the paper up, smoothing out the butter to resemble an even log about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Try to roll it pretty tight to get rid of any trapped air. Twist the ends of the parchment paper to secure and refrigerate for at least 1 hour until butter is firm. To use, unwrap the parchment paper and cut butter into 1/2-inch circles. Re-wrap remaining butter in parchment paper and refrigerate up to one week.