Are you tired of bacon overpowering the other flavors in your dish? Or maybe you want to use bacon as an ingredient without it being the star of the show?
Whatever your reason, blanching bacon is a simple technique that can help tone down its smoky and salty flavor.
In this article, we’ll explore how to blanch bacon and offer tips on how to use it in your cooking. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a home cook, read on to learn how to achieve crispy perfection with blanched bacon lardons.
How To Blanch Bacon?
Blanching bacon is a simple process that involves boiling it in water for a short amount of time. Here’s how to do it:
1. Start by filling a saucepan with enough cold water to cover the bacon.
2. Add the bacon to the saucepan and bring the water to a medium boil.
3. Let the bacon boil for up to two minutes. This will help remove some of the smoky and salty flavor.
4. After two minutes, remove the bacon from the water and place it in a bowl of ice water to cool for one hour.
5. Once cooled, remove the bacon from the water and pat it dry with paper towels.
6. Cut the bacon into lardons (small, thin strips) and use them in your recipe as desired.
What Is Blanching Bacon?
Blanching bacon is a cooking technique that involves boiling bacon in water for a brief period before cooking it. The process helps reduce the smoky and salty flavors of the bacon, making it milder and more suitable for certain recipes. Blanching also removes any contaminants that might be present in the bacon, which could burn if cooked in their natural state.
To blanch bacon, you need to fill a saucepan with enough cold water to cover the bacon. Then, add the bacon to the saucepan and bring the water to a medium boil. Let the bacon boil for up to two minutes, and then remove it from the water and place it in a bowl of ice water to cool for one hour. Once cooled, remove the bacon from the water and pat it dry with paper towels. Finally, cut the bacon into small, thin strips called lardons and use them in your recipe as desired.
Blanching is particularly useful when substituting pancetta for bacon or when cooking dishes where bacon is not the star of the show but still plays an essential role. By blanching the bacon, you can compromise and get its delicious flavor, use its fat to help cook the dish, and let other flavors shine through. Overall, blanching is a simple technique that can enhance your cooking and make your dishes taste even better.
Why Blanch Bacon?
Blanching bacon has several benefits that make it a useful technique in cooking. Firstly, blanching removes any contaminants that may be present in bacon, such as blood, salts, and sugars that remain after curing. These contaminants can cause the bacon to burn if fried in its natural state. By blanching the meat first, you can eliminate this risk.
Secondly, blanching helps to reduce the amount of time it takes to cook the bacon. The rendered fat is obtained via the rendering of the blanched meat. This allows the bacon to be cooked at a higher temperature and for a shorter amount of time without the risk of undercooking.
Thirdly, blanching can help to reduce the smoky and salty flavor of bacon. While this flavor is delicious when eating bacon straight up, it can sometimes overpower other ingredients in a dish. Blanching can help to tone down this flavor, allowing other flavors to shine through.
Finally, blanched bacon is excellent for recipes where you want to add a subtle touch of bacon flavor without it taking over the dish. It is especially useful in classic recipes such as coq au vin and beef bourguignon, where lardons are traditionally blanched before use.
How To Blanch Bacon Step-by-step
Blanching bacon is a great way to remove some of its saltiness and smokiness, and it’s a simple process that can be done in just a few steps. Here’s a detailed and elaborate step-by-step guide on how to blanch bacon:
1. Start by filling a saucepan with enough cold water to cover the bacon. Make sure to use a saucepan that is large enough to hold the bacon without overlapping.
2. Add the bacon to the saucepan and bring the water to a medium boil over medium heat. As the water comes to a boil, you may notice some scum or froth forming on the surface of the water. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to remove it.
3. Once the water is boiling, let the bacon boil for up to two minutes. This will help remove some of the saltiness and smokiness from the bacon.
4. After two minutes, remove the bacon from the water using tongs or a slotted spoon and transfer it to a bowl of ice water. The ice water will help cool down the bacon quickly and stop it from cooking further.
5. Let the bacon cool in the ice water for about one hour. This will ensure that it is fully cooled down and ready to use in your recipe.
6. Once cooled, remove the bacon from the ice water and pat it dry with paper towels. You can now cut the bacon into lardons (small, thin strips) or use it in your recipe as desired.
Blanching bacon is a simple process that can make a big difference in the flavor and texture of your dish. By following these easy steps, you can blanch your bacon perfectly every time.
Tips For Using Blanched Bacon In Your Cooking
Blanched bacon can be used in a variety of dishes, adding a unique flavor and texture to your meals. Here are some tips for using blanched bacon in your cooking:
1. Use blanched bacon in salads: Blanched bacon adds a crispy texture and smoky flavor to salads. Try adding it to a spinach salad with sliced mushrooms, diced tomatoes, and croutons.
2. Add blanched bacon to soups: Lardons of blanched bacon can be added to soups to give them a rich, meaty flavor. Add them to your favorite vegetable soup or use them in a classic French onion soup.
3. Use blanched bacon in pasta dishes: Blanched bacon can be added to pasta dishes like carbonara or spaghetti alla amatriciana for an extra burst of flavor.
4. Top your burgers with blanched bacon: Crispy blanched bacon is the perfect topping for burgers, adding a smoky and salty flavor that complements the meat.
5. Make a BLT sandwich with blanched bacon: Use blanched bacon in place of regular bacon in a classic BLT sandwich for a unique twist on this classic sandwich.
Blanching bacon before using it in your cooking can help remove some of the salt and smoky flavor, making it more versatile for different recipes. Experiment with different ways to use blanched bacon in your cooking and enjoy the delicious results!
Alternative Methods For Toning Down Bacon Flavor
While blanching bacon is a great way to tone down its smoky and salty flavor, there are also alternative methods to achieve the same result. Here are some ideas:
1. Use Canadian bacon or ham: These meats have a milder flavor than regular bacon and can be used in recipes that call for bacon as an ingredient.
2. Substitute with turkey bacon: Turkey bacon has a similar texture to regular bacon but is much lower in fat and calories. It also has a milder flavor that won’t overpower other ingredients in your dish.
3. Soak the bacon in milk: This method works best for recipes that call for bacon to be cooked in a sauce or gravy. Soaking the bacon in milk for 30 minutes before cooking can help reduce its salty flavor.
4. Rinse the bacon under cold water: Before using the bacon in your recipe, rinse it under cold water for a few seconds to remove some of the salt.
5. Use smoked paprika: As mentioned earlier, smoked paprika has a rich, smoky flavor that can be used as a substitute for bacon in some recipes.
By using these alternative methods, you can still enjoy the flavor of bacon in your dishes without overpowering other ingredients. Experiment with different techniques to find what works best for your recipe and taste preferences.