Bacon Tempura

A hostess at Red Cat in New York City made a joke about “bacon tempura” one night –and chef Bill McDaniel created it. He serves this wonderfully over-the-top dish with chipotle-lime aïoli and, in season, a grilled corn salad – but it’s good enough just to eat by itself. Serves 6

12 strips North Country Smokehouse thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon or other quality thick-cut bacon
Canola oil

2 egg whites

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups club soda


1. Separate strips of bacon, then lay half the slices in a large skillet in a single layer. Cook over medium heat, turning occasionally, until lightly browned but still pliable, about 10 minutes. Let bacon drain on paper towels. Repeat process with remaining bacon. (Save rendered bacon grease for another use, if you like.)
2. Pour oil into a heavy medium pot or a wok to a depth of 2" and heat over medium heat until temperature registers 375° on a candy thermometer.
3. Meanwhile, whisk egg whites in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold one-quarter of the flour, then one-quarter of the club soda, at a time into whites, folding thoroughly after each addition until batter is smooth.
4. Working in batches, dip bacon into batter, then deep-fry, turning once, until bacon is golden brown and crisp, about 6 minutes per batch. Drain on a wire rack. Season to taste with salt and serve immediately.

This article was first published in Saveur in Issue #82

Wheat Berry Salad with Bacon and Cherries

¾ cup dry wheat berries

4 ounces North Country Smokehouse bacon

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 large or two small scallions, dice

1 large or two small celery ribs, dice fine

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

½ cup dried cherries, chopped


The night before: cover the wheat berries in water and set aside to soak.

In a saucepan, bring a quart of water to a boil. Add the soaked wheat and simmer for 50-55 minutes until cooked, but pleasantly toothsome.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet until browned. Reserve one tablespoon of the fat.

Drain the wheat berries into a medium-sized bowl. Add the reserved bacon fat and the balsamic vinegar, and stir until combined. Set aside to cool.

Note: at this point the salad can either be finished or refrigerated for up to a day.

To the cooled wheat, add the scallion, celery, parsley and cherries. Toss to combine, and serve at room temperature or chilled. Salad keeps 1-2 days covered tightly and refrigerated.

Edible White Mountains / Summer 2010


Fresh Figs with Bacon and Goat Cheese
The Tea Deck: 50 Ways to Prepare, Serve, and Enjoy by Sara Perry

These bite-sized gems make a divine pop-in-your-mouth snack alongside a robust cup of strong black tea.

4 to 6 regular smoked bacon slices (2 1/4 to 3 1/2 ounces uncooked)
12 small fresh ripe figs, such as white or Calimyrna, halved lengthwise
About 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) crumbled mild herbed goat cheese

Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a medium heavy skillet, place the bacon slices in a single layer and cook over low to medium-low heat, turning as needed until just beginning to brown. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Cut each bacon slice into 4 or 6 pieces.
Arrange the figs on a baking sheet, cut sides up. Brush the cut surfaces with balsamic vinegar. Place a piece of bacon on each cut side. Top with a small crumble of cheese. Bake until the figs are warmed, about 8 minutes. The cheese will not melt but may toast a bit. Serve immediately.

Baked Oysters with Bacon and Leeks
Bon Appetit, November 2004

Use fresh oysters if you can; note that the recipe also tested well using oysters packed in jars. If the oysters are very large, cut them in half.

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 cup whipping cream
8 ounces bacon (preferably applewood-smoked), chopped
4 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only; from 4 large)
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons dry white wine
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
20 medium oysters, shucked, or four 8-ounce jars shucked oysters
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread

1. Melt butter in small skillet over medium heat. Add flour; whisk 2 minutes. Add cream slowly and whisk until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat.
2. Sauté bacon in heavy large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 6 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Discard all but 2 tablespoons drippings from skillet. Add leeks, celery, bay leaf, and cayenne to skillet and sauté over medium heat until vegetables are soft, about 12 minutes. Add wine and cook until absorbed, about 15 seconds. Add cream mixture and bring to simmer. Stir until leek mixture thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in bacon and cheese. Season generously with salt and pepper. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate.
3. Place 1 oyster on each of 20 oyster shells or place 2 oysters in each of 10 small ramekins. Top oyster in each shell with 2 tablespoons leek mixture, or top oysters in ramekins with 1/4 cup leek mixture. Place on rimmed baking sheet. Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill.
4. Preheat oven to 500°F. Divide breadcrumbs among shells or ramekins. Bake until leek mixture bubbles and crumbs are golden, about 8 minutes. Serves 10.


Choucroute Garnie
Recipe by Jacques Pépin, Food & Wine

Families in Alsace generally eat choucroute garnie during the wintertime, because it's such a hearty, filling dish. I've adapted the recipe to make it quicker and easier—calling for store-bought sauerkraut instead of the homemade kind, for instance, and suggesting peanut oil as a substitute for duck or goose fat, which may be less accessible. I always serve two or three types of mustard with the choucroute—a hot Dijon, a grainy Pommery and often a tarragon-flavored mustard as well.

1/3 cup kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 pounds pork back ribs or baby back ribs, cut into 3 sections
6 pounds sauerkraut (in plastic bags), drained
1/4 cup duck or goose fat or peanut oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
20 juniper berries
3 large bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups Riesling or Pinot Gris
2 pounds Polish kielbasa, skinned and cut into 2-inch pieces
10 skinless hot dogs
One 2-pound piece of boneless boiled ham (3 to 4 inches wide), sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 pounds medium potatoes (about 10), peeled
Assorted mustards, for serving

1. In a large, sturdy, resealable plastic bag, combine the 1/3 cup of kosher salt with the sugar. Add the pork ribs; shake well to thoroughly coat the ribs with the seasonings. Seal the bag and refrigerate the ribs overnight or for up to 24 hours.
2. The next day, preheat the oven to 300°. Rinse the sauerkraut in cold water and squeeze dry. Set a large roasting pan over 2 burners on high heat and melt the duck fat. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the sauerkraut, juniper berries, bay leaves, caraway seeds, black pepper, stock and wine and bring to a rolling boil over high heat.
3. Meanwhile, rinse the pork ribs under cold water and pat dry. Nestle the pork ribs in the sauerkraut and bring back to a boil over moderately high heat. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
4. Remove the pork ribs from the sauerkraut. Cut down in between the ribs. Return the ribs to the sauerkraut and nestle in the kielbasa, hot dogs and ham. Cover and bake until the meats are hot, about 25 minutes. Discard the bay leaves.
5. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold water, add salt and bring to a boil over high heat; cook the potatoes until tender when pierced. Drain the potatoes and cover to keep warm.
6. To serve, mound the hot sauerkraut in the center of very hot dinner plates and partially tuck in the pork ribs and the kielbasa. Arrange the hot dogs and ham around the sauerkraut. Alternatively, pile the sauerkraut on a large heated platter and garnish with the meats. Serve the choucroute with the boiled potatoes and assorted mustards. Serves 10.

Sausage, Arugula, and Piquillo Pepper Sandwiches
Gourmet, July 2009

1/2 cup finely chopped green olives
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 ciabatta or other rolls about the length of sausages, split
4 bratwurst, andouille, or other flavorful, fully cooked sausages, split
1/2 cup bottled piquillo peppers or roasted red peppers, drained and cut into strips
2 cups baby arugula

Combine olives and oil, then spread on bottom halves of rolls. Heat a grill pan or large heavy skillet (not nonstick) over medium-high heat until hot, then heat sausages until hot, about 8 minutes. Make sandwiches on rolls with peppers, sausages, and arugula. Cut in half.

Gazpacho with Croutons and Sausage
Bon Appetit, July 1995

The classic cold soup, as interpreted by Ouro Branco restaurant, Vila Viçosa, Portugal. Serves 6.

2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
6 medium tomatoes, seeded
1 green bell pepper, seeded
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded
2 cups cold water
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

3 1/2 cups 3/4-inch cubes day-old French or Italian bread
4 ounces fully cooked smoked sausage (such as linguiça or hot links), cut into 3/4-inch pieces

1. Mash garlic and salt in mortar with pestle until paste forms. Transfer to large bowl.
2. Finely chop tomatoes, bell pepper and cucumber and add to bowl. Add 2 cups cold water, vinegar and 2 tablespoons oil. Stir in chopped cilantro. Season with pepper. Cover soup and refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bread; sauté until golden, about 12 minutes. Season croutons with salt. Cool. Serve soup with croutons and sausage.

Arugula & Chicken Sausage Bread Pudding
EatingWell, April/May 2006

Chicken sausage comes in a variety of flavors these days. The flavor you pick will have a big impact, so make sure you pick one you like. We tried and liked sweet Italian, apple and Chardonnay sausage and sun-dried tomato and spinach sausage in this recipe. Serves 6.

4 large egg whites
4 large eggs
1 cup skim milk

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup sliced fresh basil

Bread & Filling:
4 cups whole-grain bread, crusts removed if desired, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1/2
pound, 4-6 slices)
5 cups chopped arugula, wilted (see Tip)
3/4 cup chopped artichoke hearts, frozen (thawed) or canned
1 cup diced cooked chicken sausage, (5 ounces)

3/4 cup shredded fontina cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat an 11-by-7-inch glass baking dish or a 2-quart casserole with cooking spray.
2. To prepare custard: Whisk egg whites, eggs and milk in a medium bowl. Add mustard, salt, pepper and basil: whisk to combine.
3. Toss bread, arugula, artichokes and sausage in a large bowl. Add the custard and toss well to coat. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and push down to compact. Cover with foil.
4. Bake until the custard has set, 40 to 45 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and continue baking until the pudding is puffed and golden on top, 15 to 20 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead Tip: Prepare the pudding through Step 3; refrigerate overnight. Let stand at room temperature while the oven preheats. Bake as directed in Step 4.

Tip: To wilt greens, rinse greens thoroughly in cool water. Transfer them to a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and punch several holes in the wrap. Microwave on high until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Squeeze out any excess moisture from the greens before adding them to the recipe.

Smoked Sausage Cassoulet
Bon Appetit, March 1999

Make this a day ahead for the best flavor. Serves 8-10.

2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup olive oil
3 pounds assorted fully cooked smoked sausages (such as kielbasa and andouille)

4 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced
6 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium apple, peeled, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage
1/2 cup brandy
2 14 1/2-ounce cans diced tomatoes with roasted garlic in juice
3 15-ounce cans Great Northern beans, drained, liquid reserved
1 10-ounce package frozen baby lima beans, thawed
1 cup (or more) canned chicken broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

4 cups diced country-style bread
1 pound tomatoes, seeded, diced
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium heat. Add sausages; sauté until brown, about 25 minutes. Transfer to plate and cut into 1/2-inch rounds.
2. Add leeks and garlic to same pot. Sauté until beginning to soften, about 8 minutes. Mix in apple, rosemary and sage. Add brandy and simmer until almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Mix in canned tomatoes with juices, canned beans with 1/2 cup reserved liquid, lima beans, 1 cup broth, tomato paste and cloves. Add sausages. Season with pepper.
Bring cassoulet to boil. Cover pot and transfer to preheated oven; bake 30 minutes. (Can be made up to 2 days ahead. Uncover; cool 1 hour. Refrigerate until cold; cover and keep refrigerated. Before continuing, rewarm in covered pot in 350°F. oven 40 minutes, adding more broth if dry.)
3. Heat remaining 1/4 cup oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add bread and sauté until golden brown, stirring often, about 25 minutes. Combine fresh tomatoes and parsley in large bowl; mix in bread. Season topping with salt and pepper. Spoon onto warm cassoulet. Bake uncovered 15 minutes longer.

Hams & Chops

Mamaliga Balls with Smoked Ham
Michael Symon, Food Network’s “Melting Pot”

2 3/4 cups chicken stock
2 cups fine yellow cornmeal
oil, for deep-frying
1/4 pound butter
salt and pepper
1/4 cup diced smoked ham
1/4 cup ricotta

1. Heat the stock to a simmer and then whisk in the cornmeal.
2. Whisk butter, salt, and pepper into the cornmeal mixture. Set aside to cool. When cool enough to touch, roll into balls about the size of a golf ball.
Poke a hole in the middle and fill with 1/4 teaspoon each of the ricotta and ham and roll up.
3. In a deep saucepan, heat 4 inches oil to 375 degrees. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes in hot oil. Drain on paper towels and serve. Makes 6-8 servings.

Smoked Pork Chops with Onion-and-Cider Glaze
Gourmet, October 2006

Cider made from fresh apples creates a full-bodied glaze for these tender chops. Serves 4.

4 (1-inch-thick) bone-in smoked pork chops
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large onion, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups unfiltered apple cider
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Pat chops dry. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown chops in 2 batches on one side only, 3 to 4 minutes per batch. Transfer chops, browned sides up, to a large shallow baking pan, reserving skillet. Bake chops until heated through, about 20 minutes.
3. While chops bake, melt butter in skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides, then cook onion with sugar and salt, scraping up brown bits and stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until onion is softened, 8 to 10 minutes.
4. Add cider and vinegar and boil mixture, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 10 minutes more. Serve chops with glaze.


Smoked turkey and cheddar biscuits
Boston Globe, September 2, 2009

Add smoked turkey and grated cheddar to a simple biscuit dough, along with some whole-wheat flour, and you have something savory that fussy young eaters might enjoy early in the day. Store these in the refrigerator (because of the turkey). To bring the biscuits back to life, sprinkle them with water and reheat uncovered in a toaster oven. Makes 10 large, rectangular biscuits.

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold salted butter, cut into ¼ cubes
¼ pound (2 thick slices) smoked turkey, finely chopped
1 ½ cups grated cheddar
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, combine the all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. With a pastry blender or 2 dull knives, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
3. With a rubber spatula, stir the turkey and cheddar into the mixture.
4. Sprinkle the yogurt on top and cut yogurt into the dough until it comes together in a rough mixture.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead several times until the dough is smooth. With your hands, shape the dough into a 9-by-5-inch rectangle that is about 1 inch thick.
6. With a long knife, make 1 lengthwise cut down the center of the dough. Make 4 crosswise cuts to form 10 rectangles. Transfer them to the baking sheet.
7. Bake the biscuits for 30 minutes or until they are golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm.

Chicken & Duck

Smoked Chicken Pot Pie with Sweet Potato Crust
From the Food Network’s “Throwdown with Bobby Flay”

Sweet Potato Crust:
1 pound all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 sticks butter, cut into pieces and chilled
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 cups sweet potato puree (sweet potatoes roasted, peeled and pureed in food processor)
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium Spanish onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 to 5 cups whole milk, heated
3/4 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered and sauteed until golden brown
2 medium turnips, peeled, cut into medium dice, blanched and drained
2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into matchsticks (about 2-inches long by 1/4-inch thick)
12 frozen pearl onions, blanched and drained
1 cup frozen peas, blanched and drained
1 smoked chicken (about 3 pounds) meat shredded, bones discarded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

For the Sweet Potato Crust:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large bowl combine flour with salt, and pepper. Cut in the butter with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture looks crumbly.
In another bowl combine eggs, milk, and sweet potato puree. Add to the flour mixture and stir gently until combined. Don't overmix!
Divide dough into quarters. On a lightly floured surface roll each piece into a circle about 1/8-inch thick. Cut the circles to fit the size of the serving bowls. Brush with egg wash and bake on a parchment lined baking sheet until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.

For the filling:
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the flour and cook until deep golden brown. Slowly whisk in the hot milk and cook until thickened. Reduce the heat and cook for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. If the mixture is too thick, thin with a little extra milk.
Add the mushrooms, turnips, carrots, onions, peas and chicken to the sauce and gently fold to combine and heat through. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley.
Spoon the hot filling into bowls and top with a circle of the baked sweet potato dough.