How to Improve Any Dish; or, How to Deep-Fry Bacon
Deep. Fried. Bacon.
Photo provided by Steve Shockey
Bacon's good no matter how you cook it. Take the thick-cut smoked bacon at Georgia Pig, which makes for one hell of a breakfast. Or the bacon club (no turkey or other meat, just two servings of bacon) at the Floridian, which simply griddles its bacon until perfectly crispy. But battered and deep-fried? Who does that?
Big City Tavern, if you can believe it.
The Las Olas mainstay serves battered and fried bacon on a regularly occurring special scallop appetizer. Two strips of the crispy bacon are draped over the top of the seared scallops.
Chef Steve Shockey says he inherited the dish when he came to Big City a year ago after Christine's closed.
"A previous chef came up with the deep-fried bacon," Shockey said in an email when I asked about the dish. "He had cooked it
every other way and decided what the hell! Everyone loved it, and it became
a menu fixture."
It's prepared by par-cooking the bacon first, Shockey says. Then they use a standard
breading and fry it at 365 degrees until it's golden brown. It loses
some of the saltiness from the double-cooking method, "but it still
maintains it's bacon essence" and doesn't overpower the scallops.
Shockey says he wasn't unfamiliar with the concept. "My personal experience with fried bacon is that when I was growing up
in Texas, my mom used to fry bacon and serve it with gravy and biscuits."
what's it taste like? Maybe not what you'd expect. It wasn't greasy.
Or even that bacony. More than anything, crispy, and the strips mostly tasted
of the crunchy batter. Scallops have a lightness to them, and the bacon
did provide a nice complement to their simplicity.
But I think Shockey's mom is on to something. Deep-fried bacon with gravy and biscuits sounds divine -- now that's Southern heaven.
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