Ecstasy in two words: BACON TOFFEE
Yes, you read that right. Try hard and you can imagine this match made in gustatory heaven: crispy chewy bacon bits (in this case heritage pork from Fatted Calf) coated in buttery sweet crunchy toffee. Salty and sugary, smoky and rich…white trash flavors made with top-quality ingredients…ahhhhhh.
I had bacon toffee for the first time last night — in quantities bordering on the unforgivable — and I can't stop thinking about it.
Which is saying a lot, since here's what I had already eaten by the time the toffee appeared: hardboiled eggs marinated in Bloody Marys, a spicy grapefruit salad, mussels stuffed with a Turkish-style paella, foie gras confit, squid stuffed with a more Spanish paella, wild boar cooked with bacon in a wood-fired oven, lamb, mashed heirloom potatoes, roasted beets, and copious samples from a course of 15 fantastic raw-milk French cheeses. Oh, and several flights of wines from places so far off the wine-world map that they should have been labeled with "here be Dragons," like China and Golan Heights and Transylvania.
The Potato non Grata and I had the great good fortune to have been invited to a gathering of foodies and oenophiles — most of them veteran bloggers — hosted by Jack & Joanne, of the encyclopedic site Fork & Bottle, who readers may have noticed we're often thanking for tips, but who I'd never met 'til last night. For me, frankly, the invitation was akin to being a freshman asked to senior prom, or a bench-warmer getting to start in the championship, which is to say thrilling but intimidating as hell.
Given that my cooking skills hover somewhere between "advanced beginner" and "occasionally inspired," I fretted for weeks about what to contribute to this foodie feast. I ended up hedging my bets, bringing two ice creams I wheedled out of the folks at Restaurant Zatar — cardamom date and saffron pistachio, both made from organic Straus Family creamery milk; I made a Middle Eastern spice cookie and a Seville olive oil wafer with anise to go with them. (The baking was aided greatly by the Potato asking if I wanted my birthday present early: a KitchenAid mixer! Now I at least look like a real cook.)
But back to the bacon toffee. Brought by Doralice, who runs the Cheese Shop in Healdsburg, it was a revelation, like the first time I had Fatted Calf's duck liver mousse. Doralice snuck out before the dessert course, so I didn't get the chance to question her about whether it required candy thermometers, etc.. However, another guest said that there was a recipe for bacon toffee in the "Everything Tastes Better With Bacon" cookbook by Sara Perry. I can't believe I don't already own this, but you can bet I will soon. (Lyrical Robot, you must get it too.)
What a memorable evening. I'll be dreaming about it for weeks.
[Once more: thanks Jack — and Joanne!]
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