I used to think that bacon was just another pork product. That is until I read an article in the New York Times Magazine a couple of years ago about a very special bacon smoked here in NYC by Schaller and Weber on 86th and 2nd Ave. The article was accompanied by a very nice detail shot of some beautiful bacon

After reading said article, we acquired some of this pretty pork and true to the photo, it is the best bacon I have ever had. It is double smoked and does not come precut so you can cut it however you like, for whatever meal you are going to need it for. Seriously, after eating it, I thought about it for the rest of the day. Some people might find it too strong, but I find the smoke, fat, salt and meat combo just to my liking. It’s not like your storebought bacon–mostly fat. It is like the American version of pancetta or something.

The most recent issue of Cooks Illustrated reviewed artisanal Applewood smoked bacon. They ranked Vande Rose Farms Artisan Dry Cured Bacon their highly recommended pick. But it’s $14 for 12 ounces plus shipping ($20). Schaller and Weber’s bacon is roughly $10/pound. Plus they have some meat stick thing called TV Snack. Picture it to be a nice german Slim Jim.

Anyway, I’m not really writing about just bacon (but I have been thinking about it a lot). Really, I am writing to pass along a recipe for Kale/Chard that is cooked with bacon since our CSA has been getting the kale/chard combo consistently throughout the season.

This recipe takes about 15-20 minutes to make. It’s really tasty. If you don’t eat bacon for whatever reason, I can’t help you–it wouldn’t be the same without it. We discovered variations of this recipe in both summer issues of Gourmet and Bon Appetit.

I short, it goes something like this:

Pasta (Preferrably ziti, penne, farfalle, etc.)

Cook some bacon and set aside. In about 2-3 tablespoons of the bacon oil, saute the garlic and add the kale or chard. Add a little crushed red pepper. Cook until it’s tender. Meanwhile, cook the pasta til al dente. Slice bacon into 1/2 inch piece and throw it in the pan when the kale/chard is almost done. Add to pasta and grate some cheese over it. You can also squeeze lemon over the whole mess for a nice finish.

Easy! Tasty! The end

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