Put time into dinner now, and you can make it last forever — or at least the whole week. Welcome to Halfway to Dinner, where we show you how to stretch your staples every which way.
Today: Food52’s Managing Editor Brette Warshaw shows you the best ways to work bacon into your dinners — all week long.
One large quantity of bacon, five dinners: sounds way too easy, you’re thinking. Because yes, eggs and bacon and toast is one of life’s greatest dinners, and that’s dinner number one. Dinner number two: Eating those crimped little strips straight from the pan with your fingers, while standing in your kitchen in a fluffy pair of slippers, with a drink in hand and without pants on.
But what’s so beautiful about bacon — other than the obvious — is its ability to flavor things: to infuse and season a whole pot with smoky, piggy goodness. And so while eating plates of bacon for dinner all week might not be so great for you, using bacon’s heft to carry a week’s worth of meals — a strip or two, here and there — can add a depth and intensity to your weeknight meals that’s hard to find otherwise.
Here’s how to use bacon in your dinners, all week long — and to come out feeling good.
Roasted Radicchio and Shrimp with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette This salad’s got everything in the entire world going for it: the bitterness of the radicchio, pleasantly lean shrimp, the sweet balsamic and maple syrup, and, of course, the bacon. Roast your radicchio and shrimp, make a stovetop vinaigrette with the bacon, maple syrup, and tomatoes, and toss it all together.
Bacon & Egg Ramen Okay yes, this is totally a cheater’s ramen — no simmering or roasting of bones here — but it’s pretty damn good for a weeknight. Infuse chicken broth with garlic, bacon, ginger, and lemongrass; boil some ramen noodes; season with soy and black vinegar; and garnish with bacon and an egg. It’s breakfast for dinner in a whole new way.
Shrimp and Grits Style Risotto This might just be the perfect bowl of food: spicy, acidic, rich, carby, and smoky, thanks to just a few slices of bacon. Marinate your shrimp, then cook them in a tomato-wine mixture. Take the shrimp out, and add stock, then cook your risotto with that tomato-wine-stock. Add your shrimp and bacon back in at the end.
Bacon and Egg Salad Sandwich with Dukkah and Peppery Greens A week of bacon dinners wouldn’t be complete without an egg sandwich. Here, you make egg salad with dukkah, which gives it a deep, toasty quality, a je ne sais quoi. With the peppery greens and the rich, salty bacon, it’s one awesome incarnation of that bacon-egg duo.
Chickpea Bolognese Instead of making rich, meaty bolognese — which is tough to pull off on a random evening — use just a few slices of bacon to flavor a sauce of chickpeas, carrots, celery, onion, wine, and tomato. It feels lightened up in the best possible way, putting the heft of bacon to good use.
What are your favorite ways to use bacon? Let us know in the comments!