Mark Bittman makes 5 delicious bacon dishes

There may not be a bacon shortage, but now is always a good time to cook up some slices of salted pork. And let's face it, most dishes taste better with a little bacon. Here, food writer and chef Mark Bittman makes party bacon, bacon-wrapped chicken, pasta alla gricia, Brussels sprouts with bacon and bacon popcorn.

Bacon-wrapped chicken
Servings:

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 fresh sage leaves
    • 4 chicken cutlets, about 4 ounces each
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 8 slices bacon
    • Fresh lemon juice
    • Shaved Parmesan for garnish

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Put the olive oil in a large skillet that can later be covered over medium-high heat and add the sage leaves. 2. Sprinkle the chicken cutlets with salt and freshly ground black pepper and wrap two slices of bacon around each one. When the oil is hot, add the bacon-wrapped cutlets and sauté, covered, until the chicken is cooked and the bacon is crisp, carefully turning as necessary. Chicken is done when the internal temperature registers 165 degrees. (Because cutlets are thin, you can check for doneness by cutting into the chicken with a knife; only clear juices should run out.)3. Add fresh lemon juice to taste, garnish with shaved Parmesan and serve.

Brussels sprouts with bacon

Ingredients

    • 1/2 pound bacon, chopped
    • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, chopped
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1/4 cup chestnuts, chopped
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Put the bacon, Brussels sprouts, onion and chestnuts in an ovenproof skillet; pour olive oil on top and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.2. Put the skillet in the oven, uncovered, and cook until the Brussels sprouts are tender — even slightly blackened — and the bacon is crisp, 30 to 45 minutes. Taste to adjust seasoning and serve.

Pasta alla gricia
Servings:

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1/2 cup minced bacon
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 pound linguine
    • 1/2 cup grated pecorino Romano, or more to taste

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a saucepan, combine the olive oil and bacon, and turn the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat.2. Salt the water and cook the pasta until tender. Reserve about 1 cup of water before draining the pasta.3. Toss the drained pasta with the bacon and its rendered fat; stir in the cheese. If the mixture is dry, add a little of the pasta cooking water or olive oil. Season with lots of freshly ground black pepper and serve.

Simple party bacon

Ingredients

    • Butter or olive oil
    • Bacon strips
    • Brown sugar
    • Chopped fresh rosemary

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Heat butter or olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat and add the bacon. When it starts to sizzle, reduce the heat to medium. When the bacon is about ¾ done (most of the fat will be rendered), sprinkle it with brown sugar and chopped fresh rosemary to taste. Finish cooking until bacon is crisp, about 10 minutes total. Serve.

Popcorn with bacon
Servings:

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
    • 1/2 cup popping corn
    • 6 ounces bacon, minced
    • Hot smoked paprika or pimenton
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Heat butter or olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. When it's hot, add the bacon and sauté until cooked. 2. Put the neutral oil in a large, deep saucepan with a lid. Turn the heat to medium, add 3 kernels of corn, and cover.3. When the 3 kernels pop, remove the lid and add the remaining corn. Cover and shake the pot, holding the lid on. Cook, shaking the pot occasionally, until the popping sound stops, after about 5 minutes. 4. Turn the popcorn into a large bowl; add bacon and drizzle with rendered fat while tossing the popcorn. Sprinkle with hot smoked paprika, salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.

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