Chicken-fried bacon. It’s what’s for dinner. Or snacks. Or dessert. Or ...
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So last Friday I finally made some chicken-fried bacon. At work (one of the perks of working in a test kitchen). I’d blogged about chicken-fried bacon earlier, and it came in as No. 17 on my list of 1,001 things to do with bacon.
The results? Love. At first bite.
Of course, the wonderful aroma of frying bacon tends to spread quickly, and within minutes the Test Kitchen was packed with people from throughout the building eager to help me ‘test’ the recipe. (There was literally a logjam outside the door at one point.) Luckily, I had enough ingredients to make a rather large batch of the bacon, and a big bowl of creamy ranch dip.
Most ‘testers’ were quiet as they sampled the bacon — they simply closed their eyes and nodded their heads in agreement. Others were able to put their reactions into words. ‘This makes my whole body smile!’ said Chris Erskine gleefully as he tore into a second strip.
Now, if you’ve been following the latest string of bacon posts, you know that the Health section is located smack-dab against the Test Kitchen, right next to Food. And Health Editor Tami Dennis has been ... well ... frustrated at all the wonderful bacon goings-on in her midst.
So I wanted to make it up to her. I sliced a large carrot lengthwise on a mandoline into thin strips resembling ... bacon. And then I chicken-fried it. I plated it nicely and brought it to her with a cute little bowl of the dipping sauce.
Tami inhaled it. And then came in the Kitchen for seconds. So maybe bacon doesn’t work for everyone, but chicken-fry a vegetable and you might even have a Health editor clamoring for more.
Anyway, the chicken-fried bacon — and carrots — were a success. My take on the wonderful dish follows the jump.
— Noelle Carter
Photo credits: Noelle Carter / Los Angeles Times
Chicken-fried bacon with creamy ranch dipping sauce
Servings: Makes 2 pounds bacon
Creamy ranch dipping sauce
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
16 ounces sour cream
8 ounces mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon chopped chives
2 tablespoons chopped dill
2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated or chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
In a large bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise until very smooth. Whisk in the garlic, onion, parsley, chives, dill, tarragon, lemon zest, vinegar, salt and chipotle pepper. Season to taste with additional salt, vinegar and black pepper. Cover and chill until needed. The dip tastes best if the flavors are allowed to develop 2 to 3 hours before serving, and will keep for up to 3 days, refrigerated.
Chicken-fried bacon and assembly
6 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 quart buttermilk
2 pounds bacon
Vegetable or canola oil for frying
Creamy ranch dipping sauce
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Place half of this mixture in a large, flat baking dish.
- Pour half of the buttermilk in a separate large baking dish.
- Dip each bacon strip first in the buttermilk, then in the seasoned flour. Set the bacon aside on a rack for a few minutes to allow the flour to absorb some of the buttermilk to form a good coating. For an extra crispy coating, dredge the bacon once more in just the flour mixture.
- Heat a good inch of vegetable oil in a large frying pan (or in a deep fryer) until a thermometer inserted reads 350 degrees.
- Fry the bacon, a few strips at a time (you don’t want to crowd the pan or fryer), until the strips are golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Drain the bacon on a rack. Continue until all of the bacon is fried.
- Serve the bacon warm (do allow it to cool a few minutes before serving as the hot bacon can burn) with the cold dipping sauce and plenty of napkins.