My Infatuation with the Pig

I consider myself a nice Jewish girl from Pennsylvania. Raised with many “not so Jewish” traditions, particularly my culinary upbringing and the childhood Christmas tree. Although latkes, hamentashen and matzo balls were on the menu at the appropriate times of year, so were bacon and salami. Genoa stuffed and rolled with garlic & herb cheese was a particular favorite and memories of my father grilling up some of the best pork spare ribs make me smile. Where did it all go wrong right?! Where did my love of all things pig begin?

I can recall one Rosh Hashanah, slaving in the kitchen for a family dinner, when my husband walked in and shrieked, “what are you doing?” As I wiped my hands on my apron and the sweat from my brow, I thought, “what does it look like I’m doing? Cooking!” He said, “You’re wrapping the chicken in bacon! It’s Rosh Hashanah!” For a second I thought, “I know, it’s sooooo good.” And then it occurred to me that maybe this was a bad idea. Everything’s better with bacon, isn’t it? Maybe not during the Jewish holidays…

When in doubt, wrap it in a pork product. In fact, pork with more pork might be the greatest combination ever. Pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon or thick cut pork chops stuffed with fontina and prosciutto are just so delicious. Take a healthy bunch of summer tomatoes and toss them with some blue cheese, basil and bacon – a seasonal favorite in our house. Spicy black beans with chorizo and eggs – another delicious combination. And let’s not forget Alan’s favorite meal, the sandwich – Crunchy Italian Pressed Sandwiches. Before today, I was feeling a little uncomfortable because of the number pork recipes I’ve posted (and there are many), but after realizing that my Prosciutto Wrapped Figs are the most visited recipe on the blog I thought, “Thank God, I’m not the only one in this pork obsessed world!”

Emeril always says, “pork fat rules!” I have to agree with him, especially when you cook lentils in rendered bacon fat or use that hot bacon grease to make a warm dressing for your spinach salad. There must be a reason that vegetarians have found a way to make veggie bacon and you non-pork eaters are enjoying turkey bacon. From the legendary James Beard, “I’ve long said that if I were about to be executed and were given a choice of my last meal, it would be bacon and eggs… Nothing is quite as intoxicating as the smell of bacon frying in the morning…” Brilliant! And I have to admit I agreed with Homer Simpson when he said, “Porkchops and bacon, my two favorite animals.”

I decided to kick off 2012 by publicly addressing my infatuation with all things pork when I found myself making a chorizo and onion frittata for breakfast over the holiday weekend – another recipe with a pork product strikes again! If you love smoked Italian meats, bacon and sausage, 4plates2table promises to have a recipe for you. Here’s that delicious chorizo frittata and our version of the BLT, one of the greatest sandwiches ever created.

Chorizo & Onion Frittata

CHORIZO & ONION FRITTATA

INGREDIENTS (Serves 2-3 depending on how hungry you are)

  • 4oz smoked/cured spanish chorizo, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 small onion, sliced fairly thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 eggs, beaten with a fork and seasoned with a little kosher salt and pepper & a splash of milk
  • Sprinkle of cheese (manchego, cheddar or mozzarella)
  • Handful chopped fresh parsley

Heat a 10″ nonstick frypan with a drop of olive oil and add the sliced chorizo. Saute until the chorizo releases its fat and the sausage sizzles. Remove the chorizo from the pan using a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate, set aside. Pour off all but a tablespoon or so of the chorizo grease and add the onion. Saute the onion on medium heat until soften but not browned, about 5-8 minutes or so. Add the garlic and cook with the onion until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour the beaten eggs over the onion mixture, add the chorizo and gently move it around so the onions and chorizo slices are evenly spread out through the eggs. Cook over a medium-low heat until the eggs begin to set. You can move it around a bit with a rubber spatula, lifting the sides to allow the eggs to run under, helping them cook evenly. The bottom will become a golden brown.

Once the eggs have begun to set on both the top and bottom, sprinkle over the cheese and place under the broiler for about 2-3 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the eggs look fluffy and cooked. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn. Slide the frittata onto a plate, sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve in wedges.  This is delicious with warm french bread and hot sauce on the side.

4plates2table BLAT

4plates2table BLAT

Some things can’t be improved upon. Other than our addition of avocado, the BLT could quite possibly be the perfect sandwich.

INGREDIENTS (Serves 4)

  • 8 slices good seeded sandwich bread, lightly toasted
  • 4 slices thick cut smoked bacon per sandwich (more or less, you decide)
  • 1-2 avocados, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • Red leaf lettuce
  • Mayonnaise (no Miracle Whip please)
  • Fresh cracked pepper

Here’s a trick I borrowed from the Barefoot Contessa to make crispy bacon without the mess of using the broiler or frying in a pan on the stove top. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil (to help with clean up) and set a flat rack on top of the foil. Lay the bacon slices on the rack and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until crispy. Set the bacon on a paper towel lined plate to drain.

To assemble the sandwich, spread mayo on both sides of the toasted bread. Grind some pepper on the mayo. Layer the bacon and  vegetables on the bottom slice of bread and squish the top piece of toast over the sandwich. Enjoy!

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4 Comments to “My Infatuation with the Pig”

  1. The BLAT looks great! The BLT is a classic. Thanks for the bacon tip…

  2. I LOVED the post and ALL THINGS PIG! I can’t wait to make that BLAT.

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