I’m not sure there’s a dish around that isn’t made better with a bit of bacon. I’m even seeing bacon ice cream pop-up in restaurants every now and then. And while I personally am not ready to throw a few slices of bacon on my breakfast cereal, I do find myself cooking with bacon a fair amount. Bacon lardons, are essentially homemade bacon bits that taste a whole lot better than anything you can get in the store. And, by cooking your own bacon lardons, you get some bacon fat as a by-product that you can use instead of olive oil or butter when sautéing something else.
What do I use bacon lardons for? For me, there are two primary uses. First, I like to use them as garnish/topping for a number of dishes; like baked potatoes, soups, and salads. Second, I’ll also use them as an ingredient in other dishes and sauces. When do use bacon as an ingredient, I use this technique to render it out and develop the flavor before adding in other ingredients. Doing so allows the bacon to get crispy, and really develop its flavor. If you try cooking the bacon with other ingredients, like onions, you’ll find it never really renders out its fat. Instead it will stay flabby and weak.
How to make Bacon Lardons
- I generally like to use a thick cut bacon, but really any will do
- Prior to cooking, and preferably when the bacon is very cold – almost freezing – slice the bacon into quarter inch pieces
- Heat a pan over medium heat and add a touch of olive oil
- Add the bacon to the pan and gently toss
- Sauté the bacon over medium heat stirring every few minutes until the fat renders out and the bacon is crisp
- Use a slotted spoon to take out the bacon lardons, leaving the drippings in the pan
- The drippings can be used in a variety of recipes as a substitute for other cooking oils
It’s as simple as that…these bacon lardons make a great addition to so many dishes, and are a technique I use all the time.