The French Cooking Secret of the day: Lardons

The French Cooking Secret of the day: Lardons

“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 a type of bacon, les lardons, is a staple in many French homes.  (Vegetarianism is still quite rare in France, although some people do avoid pork for personal or religious reasons.)

Everything in small quantities” is the mantra here, and 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!

french lardons
French Lardons

How to cook French Lardons

Resembling small matchstick-size pieces of bacon, lardons are 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), never to be the star of any meal:

  • 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 a tartiflette or quiche
  • In an omlette
  • Toppings on a pizza

(Note always cook the lardons first before adding to any dish, they usually take about 5 minutes on the stove to get the juices flowing and turn brown.)

There are of course much more elaborate recipes of lardons, depending on your time and motivation.  But when home late after work, use lardons to give a jump start to any meal.  Even the pickiest little vegetable eaters can be coaxed into trying a plate of broccoli with small pieces of bacon!

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