The Triumphant Return (now with more Bacon!)

We have been way to busy to keep up with the blog. But enough is enough.

In December, my friend Jordi was keen enough to post this gem on my Facebook page:
If I Die A Bacon-Related Death, I'd Like It To Be Because Of This

The resulting outburst of chatter was exciting. Clearly, this was a topic dear to everyone's hearts. Excerpts follow:

Me: OMG... Must do tomorrow.
Aileen: here are no words. none. greasy elegance rolled into one. can you weave other designs? do it Mike!! do it Jords (or did you already make this?)
Jordi: i'm gonna weave me a f*ckin' bacon blanket and wrap myself in it!!
Me: This guy's only mistake was that he didn't put chorizo in with the cheese.
Tracy: I may just have to surprise my husband with this one...but yeah, I agree with Mike - sausage and even some hash browns...
Jordi: or wild mushrooms and goat cheese...mmm. it can be the new crust. just add your favorite filling
Ria: But I do agree, it's missing more ingredients. Please update if any of you try it! Very curious....
SooJee: tell us how this comes out Mike and take pics:)
Tracy: Wild mushrooms and goat cheese? Sorry, but there's nothing gourmet about a basket weaved with bacon...
Jordi: not only is it gourmet, woven bacon is couture!
Me: Only bacon can turn gourmet into gourm-yay.

I didn't get to do anything with the idea until Christmas when I was asked to do a little appetizer for Christmas dinner. So here we go. (Yes many of you have seen this already but as I have not cooked anything interesting in the past month, we will do reruns for now)

To address my primary contention in the conversation above that the original blogger didn't do enough with his bacon, I decided to make this a surf and turf. We used some steamed shrimp and some herbed goat cheese instead of the simple shredded cheddar that the original blogger used.

First we weave le bacon. (Jordi said it was couture so we have to use francaise when we can)

Et voila, le bacon mat.

We fry the bacon.

We add the goat cheese and shrimps. (Kosher this is definitely not)

We roll the bacon.

And the finished product!

Which our President-Elect then proceeds to devour, not mindful of the other guests at holiday dinner who wanted in on the bacon fun.

The overall verdict was that it was delicious. It was good. But the preparation left a lot of room for improvement. The bacon fell apart when I attempted to slice it into pinwheels for presentation. Somebody suggested that I perhaps finish it in the oven to seal in the goodness and to firm up the bacon. The surf-and-turf-like combination of pork and shrimp was great and the herbed goat cheese was a good balancing note.

A future possible application, per Paolo, Jordi and Ria: weave the bacon and place it into metal colander with curved bottom to bake-- result would be a bacon bowl! We could then pile on all the toppings our hearts desire.


I was going to do a repeat of the dish on New Year's Eve, substituting scallops for the shrimp. Because we were strapped for time I never go to do this. Instead, I just individually wrapped the scallops in bacon the next day and speared the whole clump of goodness with rosemarry to pin it all together, then grilled the little suckas. While not as aesthetically pleasing as a bacon mat, they were still pretty and were great New Year's amuse bouches.

National Burger Month Day 15: Surf and Turf Burger

I wanted to do something with shrimp without actually making a shrimp burger so I figured making a little surf and turf in a sandwich would be interesting. I remember doing a surf and turf with scallops in a red wine reduction once, and we considered topping the burgers with something similar, but ultimately we turned to one of my favorite tapas.

A couple of weeks ago, a few of us went to a wonderful little place in San Francisco called Esperpento. We ordered some of their gambas al ajillo. While gambas are pretty standard fare as far as tapas go, the ones we ordered then were really good. So tonight I tried to pull off my own version of gambas and found that they were really easy to make.

Gambas al Ajillo:
1/2 lb medium prawns, shelled and cleaned
3 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tbsp chili pepper flakes
smoked paprika to taste
salt to taste

Heat the oil on medium in a skillet. Once the pan is warm, but not too hot, toss the garlic and pepper flakes into the pan and stir fry, being careful not to burn the garlic. Once the pan is hot, throw the shrimp into the mix, followed by the paprika. I used about 1 1/2 tbsp paprika. Once the shrimps begin to turn pink, after about a minute or two, toss in the parsley. Shrimp gets really stringy and dry when overcooked, so remove the pan from the heat once the shrimp turn pink, but not entirely opaque.

The burger is the standard chuck, pepper and salt affair that we've turned to on many an evening during National Burger Month. Once the burgers are grilled to the desired doneness and are bunned, simply lay a few shrimp over the burgers.

We found that equal proportions shrimp to burger worked the best. Too little shrimp and the burger gets too burgery; we lose the shrimpiness. Too much shrimp and we forget we're celebrating burger month. And now, we'd like to call Shrimp to the podium.

Shrimp: Ahem. The winner of the Best Supporting Ingredient Award for this evening goes to Garlic! Garlic, come on up here and claim you award!
Garlic: Woooooo! Woooohooo!! I can't believe this! (sigh) I'd like to thank pepper for her support. But really, Olive Oil, I couldn't have done it without you. Olive Oil, this is for you. I had a great time working with you! And Shrimp, thank you too for giving me this chance to shine.
Shrimp: No really, you were there for me. You were there for me.
Garlic: They love me! They really, really love me!

Thank you Shrimp. Thank you Garlic. You guys were great.