When I bought a pound of bacon from Skagit River Ranch’s stall at the U District farmer’s market last week, I didn’t realize how hard I’d fall. I think I started with about ten thick slices, the first four of which we enjoyed in all their unprocessed and chemical-free glory for breakfast last Sunday. Then I started rationing. I used a couple slices for a salad and a couple for a stew, slicing and dicing with economy so that I could get the most flavor out of the too-quickly receeding stack of thick, chewy pork. Suddenly I was left with only two slices, which made me panic a little. I needed a really good bacon application.
Last night, I diced up my last little strips of love and used them to cook some winter kale collard-style, with a little Asian flare. I crisped the bacon over medium heat, added a cleaned, chopped bunch of kale, added water to cover and some salt and pepper, and simmered the kale until it was soft and that beautiful dark evergreen color that southern-style greens take on when they’ve had about 40 minutes in a good, hot bath. I splashed in a tablespoon each of soy and rice wine vinegar, and simmered a few more minutes. The kale was stellar: soft but not obliterated, tinged with soy but not salty, and flavored with enough vinegary spunk to keep the taste buds on edge. I chased the bacon-infused pot likker around my bowl with ciabatta with that kind of urgency one usually associates with bedroom business.
One thing’s for sure: I’ll keep bringing home that bacon.