There’s more or less nothing bad about my job, except for occupational hazards, like that bad egg Tom Roston said would never happen to me. I’ve been off eggs for two months now. It still hurts, both physically and emotionally. Statistically speaking, I’m simply closer to the front lines when it comes to food fails. Like that time I stopped being able to eat miso soup. Or that time I ordered bacon on a sandwich and received three strips of greasy, rubbery gristle. I didn’t think anything could ruin bacon except experiencing it in that condition.
When I realized bacon was ruined for a little while, but not crispy pig entirely, I started oven-baking prosciutto slices — 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until dark brownish-red with no visible white fat remaining. Replacing bacon with this fragile new swine jerky yielded a better sandwich experience. There was already meat on it — the thickness of bacon wasn’t necessary. Plus you can’t accidentally pull whole pieces of crispy prosciutto out of the sandwich with your teeth, as it fractures and breaks off in perfect bite-sized crisp, salty, porky pieces. Lastly, you will experience neither rubberiness, nor gristle, nor excessive grease with this trick.
What’s more, other places one finds bacon — pizza, pasta, risotto, wrapped around stuff — welcome prosciutto just the same. There may even be a lowered risk of shredding the roof of your mouth with overly crunchy bacon. And your kitchen won’t smell like bacon fat for two days. (That is both a pro and a con.)
Let me clarify something important: if there is no other meat on your sandwich besides bacon, replacing it with crispy prosciutto is not appropriate. This isn’t a contest, it’s a long-winded pros and cons list. Similarly, prosciutto will not replace bacon in sweet and savory desserts or in any dish involving eggs. Bacon and eggs have a solid relationship; no wispy little Italian tart is going to come along and change that. Ugh, gross, eggs, still not okay. I cannot verbalize my grief.
Anyway, it’s like the Greek yogurt versus mayo debate: there are plenty of things Greek yogurt can do just like its fattier counterpart, but toss fresh lobster meat with the tangy, fluffy stuff and the food gods will rain their wrath upon you. It’s your judgment call. Make it well.
More cured meat for lunch on Food Republic: