“Mmmm Bacon!”, in the words of Homer Simpson. Not exactly good for you, and definitely not to be eaten in large quantities. Given all commentary about French people never becoming fat, you might be surprised to know that bacon lardons, small thin strips of pork meat, are a staple in many French homes.
☞ READ MORE: ABC of French Cuisine (the Food Dictionary)
Now I should note that vegetarianism is still quite rare in France. Although some people do avoid pork for personal or religious reasons, bacon lardons are a french cooking staple.
“Everything in small quantities” is the mantra here, and bacon lardons are the type of thing that can be added in small quantities to almost any meal to give that it that extra kick, without leaving you feeling bloated and guilty. So French!
What are lardons?
Resembling small matchstick-size pieces of bacon, these are small pieces of pork belly that have more fat than regular bacon. You can buy it in small packs in grocery stores (100g or about a fistful). It is never meant to be the star of any meal, but that “tiny something” that gives a bit more flavor.
How to make lardons and cook them?
If you cannot find lardons in your local grocery store, you can still make them at home. Find thick-cut bacon strips and cut them crosswise into 1/4 to 1/2- inch (around 2/3 cm) slices.
Over medium heat, cook the lardons in a skillet without oil for around 5 minutes, until the lardons look crispy and the fat has been rendered into the pan. Transfer to a plate and drain out any excess oil if you wish.
Recipes that use Lardons
Bacon lardons can be added to any dish, but here are the main ones that I use more often:
- Add lardons to any salad, instead of chicken (which takes longer to cook)
- Cook tagliatelle pasta, and then add onions, spinach, crème fraîche (a type of sour cream), and lardons to the pan.
- Steam broccoli/beans/spinach and add lardons
- Cook peas and carrots together and then add lardons
- Add lardons to cooked lentils or quinoa, along with onions and carrots
- In an omelet
- Toppings on a pizza
(Note, always cook the lardons first before adding to any dish, as described above, to avoid eating uncooked meat. They usually take about 5 minutes on the stove to get the juices flowing and turn brown.)
Did you enjoy that article? Save it for later!