By Margo Greenman
There aren’t many ways to improve an already perfect food. Bacon, in itself, is a masterpiece. Whether you eat it straight or use it to accentuate the flavors in other dishes through its fat or texture, there’s really no wrong way to eat it. As someone who is 100 percent guilty of being completely bacon-obsessed, I love finding new, creative ways to enjoy this humble delicacy. Because sweet and savory go hand-in-hand, I thought I’d make a spring fresh salad loaded with candied bacon, made my way—with Chimacum, Washington’s Finnriver Farm & Cidery Sparkling Pear Cider. When enjoyed by the bottle, this cider is crisp, refreshing, subtly sweet, mildly tart and loaded with sparkling pear flavor. However, when you combine it with brown sugar and spices and let it caramelize in the oven, it becomes a sticky, sweet glaze that is full of relish and the perfect complement to a salty slab of bacon. This recipe is absurdly simple (and slightly messy), and can be used for so much more than just salads.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20-30 minutes
Makes: 12 strips of bacon
12 strips of thick-cut bacon
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup Finnriver Farm & Cidery Sparkling Pear Cider
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
a dash of cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium size bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cinnamon, black pepper, cayenne pepper and cider, until the sugar and spices are well combined and have dissolved into the cider.
Dip bacon into the cider-sugar mixture so that all sides are well coated. Place coated bacon on baking sheet and repeat process until all bacon is coated. Coat tops of bacon with any glaze that’s remaining.
Place bacon in oven and cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, flip bacon and cook for additional 15 minutes, flipping bacon every two minutes to ensure that bacon is well coated and evenly cooked.
Let cool on a nonstick surface. Once cooled, you can eat whole, use as garnish in a Bloody Mary, or crumble into bits to toss with a salad. Get creative, and enjoy.
Photo courtesy of Margo Greenman