One the conundrums of buying a bunch of different bacons to taste is that you can not eat 12 ounces of bacon each week and there is limited room to store the stuff. If you do not eat bacon every day or even every week, bacon will sit and creative uses need to be found. Once you get past the “bacon-wrapped” phase, the options get more obscure.
Recently, I have been unable to put down the Momofuku cookbook. It has great pickle and dessert recipes, but I kept going back to Bacon Dashi. It looks to be infinitely easier than making chicken stock and I certainly had bacon sitting around. The recipe calls for Benton’s, but let’s get real. Benton’s gets treated like gold in our household and we use it sparingly. I had Nueske’s Peppered and Stonecross bacons (each about 1/4 pound) gathering hypothetical dust in the meat drawer of our fridge. I live a few blocks from a great Asian specialty store, so konbu was not a problem.
In a few quarts of water, bring the konbu to a simmer and remove from heat for ten minutes to steep. Once the ten minutes are up, remove the konbu and add the bacon. Bring the bacon to a boil and reduce to simmer for 30 minutes. Once this process is finished, remove the bacon and chill the dashi to separate the fat.
When ready to serve, heat dashi. Then, prepare noodles (I used buckwheat soba) per the maker’s instructions and assemble additions to the dish. I used leftover CSA and farmer’s market veggies — garlic scapes, young shallots (greens and whites), pickled rhubarb, and shittakes.
This dish is very easy and makes for a great weeknight dinner. It also is a great alternative to the CSA/Farmer’s Market salad that is so prevalent mid-week after over-buying or undereating vegetables.