by Alicia Lieu
There are some fun bacon recipes to try at the end of this article!Bacon has become quite the trend over the past couple of years. I’ve seen bacon flavored candy and mints, bacon shaped throw pillows, T-shirts with all kinds of bacon sayings, and even bacon perfume. Historically bacon has been a flavoring agent in many cuisines before it became a popular stand alone breakfast food and topping for burgers and baked potatoes. Now bacon has come into its own as a leading role.
Baconery Cafe in New York offers not just bacon in any cut you could wish for but also sweet and savory baked goods, and serves Bacon Mac N’ Cheese for dinner. Word on the street is that Wesley Klein’s (a former manager at Best Buy and the genius behind Baconery) favorite thing on the menu is the Chocolate Peanut Butter Bacon cookie. The combination of sweet and savory fuels his passion for offering baked goods with bacon. As if two incredible flavors weren’t enough, Wesley successfully combines sweet, salty, and bacon in exactly the right ratio.
Every time you ask someone if they have heard of Baconery, people are astounded by the concept and ask how they have not heard of it before. Located on Columbus Ave and 104th street, the place is average size by New York standards, tiny by suburban standards. The kitchen is in the back and there is seating in the front. The atmosphere has been bacon-ized as well. Bacon adorns the walls, the floor, the cushions. There is even a shelf full of bacon themed goods for sale.
Wesley was busy preparing a special celebration for Baconery’s two year anniversary. He has good reason to celebrate. Baconery has received a good deal of press from The New York Times, NBC, Fox, and others. I had the privilege of speaking with Stephanie Aiuto, Baconery’s Director of Social Media Marketing, who gave me this tip: the only right way to cook bacon is in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Using a skillet is a waste of bacon.
Upon Stephanie’s recommendation, I ordered through Seamless for a pick-up. I had the chocolate covered bacon, bacon brownie, the Wilbur Sandwich (a BLT with avocado, easy on the mayo) and stashed away the bacon croissant for breakfast the next day. I brought these back to the office and people were astonished and intrigued. And pleasantly surprised by the deliciousness after trying to decide if it would be tasty or not. It’s worth a trip out to Baconery if you just try the chocolate covered bacon. But trust me, you’ll want to try more than that. You can order these goodies online at Baconery.com. The Baconery is celebrating its two year anniversary and hopefully will not be just a trend but have some staying power.
The following Candied Bacon recipe would be a great pairing with a Bloody Mary or a martini. These seem to be trending nowadays. I was introduced to Clams Casino by a friend during a beach outing in Long Island. Even though Wesley Klein proved that bacon can work with anything, Clams Casino has to be one of my favorite uses for bacon.
1 C brown sugar
1.5 pounds uncooked bacon
1. Prepare a jelly roll pan with wire cooling racks covered in cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Coat each slice of bacon with brown sugar.
3. Bake for 15 to so minutes until the bacon caramelizes.
18 Little Neck clams, steamed 5 minutes, then cooled
3 strips bacon, cooked 10-15 minutes in a 400 degree oven
reserved bacon drippings
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons red bell pepper, diced
1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
lemon wedges for serving
1. Remove clams from shells and place each one on a half shell.
2. Sauté bell pepper and bacon drippings. Add garlic and continue sautéing for one more minute. Remove from heat and add breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste.
3. Place clams in a large baking dish lined with foil. Divide the breadcrumb mixture evenly over clams and top with bacon.
4. Broil clams until the top mixture becomes crispy.
5. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges on the side.