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Video: Get creative in the kitchen with versatile bacon

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    >>> morning on how to cook everything today. the canned of of meat, bacon . mark bittman "how to cook everything the basics," and all 25 recipes will apower in the upcoming issue of "new york times" magazine. i had to bring al in with me. some real expertise.

    >> i won't leave. bowed my way on to this segment.

    >> the raw pork belly .

    >> this is raw pork belly , can be cured or smoked and just smoked and then we call it bacon .

    >> and then you can call raw pork belly bacon , too, but what we think of as bacon is usually cured in a brine and smoked or just smoked.

    >> here we're looking at it slide.

    >> thick slices. here's some diced, what you might call minced.

    >> and pancetta is basically bacon , too.

    >> it's raw bacon that's cured with herbs really and spices.

    >> and the difference in quality is what?

    >> it's the same as it is with pork. sort of industrialially raised pork and more humanely and individually raised pigs, and these are not that we would ever plug anything, but these are some brands of sort of higher quality pork that make higher quality bacon . since bacon is getting more expensive. yeah, it's not a shortage actually, but it is going to get more expensive. meat in general is going to get more expensive. you might as well, i think, pay the extra money and look at no nitrates and from better pork and it tastes better.

    >> the best way to cook it?

    >> you know, i was writing the piece for "the times" and i liked doing it in the oven and broiler and on top of the stove. if you have a really big piece, can you grill it.

    >> i've done that.

    >> so great, but we tend to do the stove top thing.

    >> this is one of my favorites. at some hoity-toity event with my wife, and there were guys in tuxedoes and white gloves with plates of this bacon and every man was around it.

    >> well, this morning, there has never been so much buzz about a story.

    >> this is party bacon .

    >> you cook bacon slowly, and as it's finishing you sprinkle it with brown sugar and then whatever else you want, but we're using rosemarie here, so you get this, you know, it's -- as if it weren't sticky and sweet enough it gets stickier and sweeter, and i would suggest trying that.

    >> i suggest that, too.

    >> and chicken, you're cooking chicken wrapped in bacon as well. talk to us about this recipe.

    >> well, this is -- that's what it is. chicken wrapped in bacon . so you take a chicken breast , a couple of slices of bacon . twist it around. you wrap the chicken breast .

    >> you wrap the chicken breast in bacon and then slide it into the ban. when the bacon is done, the chicken is done.

    >> that's pretty easy.

    >> this is smart, too, as you're cooking the chicken. brussel sprouts , not my favorite. my wife loves brussel sprouts but bacon is a nice complement, right?

    >> you take bacon and brussel sprouts , toss them together in the oven together.

    >> a little olive oil to get it started and this one we put chestnuts, makes it a little better.

    >> more past a. this is the more basic of bacon pasta. pasta a la --

    >> hey, hey, what's going on over there?

    >> bacon .

    >> you get it yourself but you don't have thumbs.

    >> where's the bacon . where is it? where's the bacon ?

    >> where's the bacon ?

    >> natalie's dog zara. she sees it on the monitor.

    >> she can't stand the smell in here.

    >> bacon were peccorina and this is the best, bacon popcorn. really love it. eat it hot.

    >> always loved you, mark bittman , but love you more.

TODAY recipes
updated 10/2/2012 6:35:39 PM ET 2012-10-02T22:35:39

Recipe: Bacon-wrapped chicken

  • 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

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.

Serving Size

Makes 4 servings

Recipe: Brussels sprouts with bacon

  • 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

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.

Recipe: Pasta alla gricia

  • 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

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.

Serving Size

Makes 4 servings

Recipe: Simple party bacon

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

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.

Recipe: Popcorn with bacon

  • 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.

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.

Serving Size

Makes 4 to 6 servings

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