Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cured meats

Did you know that when you ask for “bacon”, what you get will depend on where you are? In the US you get a long, thin rectangular piece of meat which comes from the belly of the pig and is about equal parts flesh and fat, optimally fried until perfectly crispy. Outside the US, this is known as “streaky bacon” or “streaky rashers”. In the UK and Australia, the bacon you commonly get comes from the back of the pig, is much less fatty, and is called, not surprisingly, “back bacon”. (This is known as “Canadian bacon” in the US, for reasons that are not entirely clear to me.)

Despite this being my fourth stint of living outside the US, I have to re-adjust every time to the fact that the bacon elsewhere is significantly different from what I'm used to and that, honestly, I don’t like it as much as I do the traditional US style. So much so that at least once I’ve done something that is usually unthinkable, and run out. As it turns out, this domestic faux pas has yielded some unexpected benefits, principally discovering that salty, cured meats are more interchangeable than I’d realized. A recent, very successful breakfast experiment emphatically demonstrates this; wanting some bacon to jazz up my fried egg on toast and finding none, I swapped in some fried spicy salami. The variation has now officially entered the RL breakfast rotation.

Fried egg & salami on toast
Of course, following the cured-meats-are-interchangeable principle means that you should feel free to swap in whatever you’ve got lying in the fridge.

1 slice whole wheat toast
2 slices spicy salami
1 egg
salt & pepper

Toast bread. In a small frying pan, fry salami until crisp on the edges, turning once. Remove salami from pan and crack in egg, frying to your liking. (I like sunny side up with a runny yolk.)

Put toasted bread on a plate, top with salami, then with egg. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and consume.


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