I have just eaten four wonderful rashers of fried bacon – not grilled, but fried. For some fairly obvious reasons, we tend to grill bacon these days. It can be a bit easier and it reduces the amount of fat by dripping it out into the grill. The problem is that assuming you have found decent tasting bacon in the first place, half that taste is now sitting in the grill pan where it will get washed away later.
Although healthier, this is also rather disappointing. Frying bacon, on the other hand, allows the fats to become sticky and concentrated and nicely glued to the bacon itself, meaning that every couple of bitefulls you get hit by a super concentrate of bacon flavour. This really is easy stuff, but I have put it down as a recipe to make the point that we should all, once in a while, taste the joy of beautiful bacon FRIED!
Start by hunting around for some really good bacon. There is a good chance that you will NOT find this in a supermarket, whatever they promise on the fancy packaging. Supermarket "Finest" tends to be really, really thin, and that is no good. However, the thicker varieties are often a bit nasty.
You will need to go off to your local butcher, but even many of those don't see really good bacon. Farm shops can be better. Once you do find the ultimate source, guard it jealously! I am very fond of black bacon - bacon cured in molasses. Thickly sliced it has an extra sticky sweetness to it that compliments Dijon mustard wonderfully.
Take enough rashers of bacon to cover the bottom of your pan without wallpapering! There must be enough space so any liquids from the bacon boil away quickly otherwise you will get steamed bacon and have to cook it to death before it fries properly.
Heat up a frying pan (heavy iron or heavy non-stick) to hot.
Add a small amount of fat or olive oil to just lubricate the surface – bacon will produce its own fat, but if you don’t oil the pan at all the bacon will just get charred - not nicely either!
Add the bacon.
Turn occasionally with tongs until the edge of the fat goes golden. DO NOT serve it pale and insipid and DO NOT crisp it so much that all you have left is the salt! The bacon I am talking about here is good and thick, so crispy = leather.
Once it is cooked, take out and lay on absorbent kitchen towel. Do not pat all the fat away – that is where the taste is.
Sprinkle with some fresh ground black pepper and serve on something thick and bready!