Smoked Bacon

Smoked bacon is going to do you no favors in the cholesterol counting, but it’s a home run in the horse doovers department. There is just about nobody that is not going to say YES!! to super crispy lardons the size of a golf ball. Even I,  occasionally-known-to-be-a-vegetarian-except-when-it-comes-to-bacon, love a good lardon.
The trick is excellence. I have no clue for the rest of the world, but here in NYC, if you are within walking or subway distance (the G train) to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, then your job is done. Nassau Meat Market is on Manhattan Avenue, just south of Kent street. Get ready to wait in line and order a slab, as big as you need it of smoked bacon. Have them cut it into slices about an inch and a half thick. When you get home, slice off the thick skin along one edge, and be sure to cut out the two or three little round bits of bone. Cube the slices, heat a heavy frying pan, glaze it with a little olive oil, and crisp the lardons on all sides. Serve hot or warm. I like them with braised shrimp and beurre blanc, and perfectly boiled eggs with a homemade mayonnaise.

Perfectly boiled eggs with homemade mayonnaise (and a bit of cress, a few cornichon:

Bring a pot of water to the boil and add a pinch of salt. With a spoon, lower in large eggs, one at a time, and cook for 8 minutes. Have a bowl of ice water handy to cool them down as soon as they’re done. Drain and peel. Season with a little kosher or sea salt and a grind of black pepper. Absolutely simple and absolutely delicious.

Homemade mayo

Put about a teaspoon of dijon mustard in a bowl. Add one egg yolk and whisk. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice. Drop by drop begin adding vegetable oil, until the mixture binds. Now add olive oil continuing to whisk, and adding the oil in a thin and continuous stream, until you get what looks like mayonnaise. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For the shrimp: Buy PEELED AND DEVEINED SHRIMP. Bring a pot of water to the boil with a clove of garlic, a sprig of thyme, a peppercorn, a spill of olive oil and a wide piece of lemon zest with no pith. Let it boil for about 10 minutes. Add the shrimp. As soon as they begin to curl, remove to a bowl of ice (ice water can saturate them.) Remove the ice after about 5 minutes and serve with a bowl of Beurre Blanc. Don’t be afraid to make it. You can’t believe how good it is. Just remember not to boil the vinegar mix away completely (watch the pot) and be sure your butter is completely cold and added a few tablespoons at a time.

Beurre Blanc

4 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/2 cup of white wine
2 tablespoons of finely minced shallot

2 tablespoons of heavy cream
2 sticks of chilled butter, cut into small pieces

Simmer the first four ingredients in a heavy stainless steel saucepan with two pinches of salt and a grind of freshly ground black pepper, until it has reduced to about 1 1/2 tablespoons. Add the cream and reduce for about 2 minutes. Begin to whisk in the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, over a low heat. Taste for salt and pepper.

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