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June 22, 2010

Bacon, a Pantry Special (Recipe: asparagus, cheese and bacon pizza on a pita)

Pantry Specials are great ingredients that find their way into my pantry from time to time, but not all the time.

Asparagus cheese and bacon pizza

In the 12th Century, a small church in England promised a side of bacon to any married man who could swear he had not argued with his wife for a year and a day. A husband who could "bring home the bacon" was highly prized! My husband Ted (also highly prized) loves bacon, and -- true confession -- occasionally I eat bacon, too. Not ham, not proscuitto, not pork chops or any other part of the pig, but I do eat real bacon, the stuff Europeans call streaky bacon, the most ubiquitous bacon sold in the United States. Like many foods, bacon was created as a way to preserve meat in the days before refrigeration. Bacon is cured, brined meat prepared from the belly, back or sides of pork (and from other animals, too, such as duck and wild boar). It's often smoked in large slabs, sometimes with a dry rub. Bacon (especially the fat) lends a smoky, salty flavor to soups and stews. These days, low-sodium and extra-lean versions are easy to find in most supermarkets, and artisanal bacon often shows up at farmers markets.

Is this Pantry Special new to you?

How to cure your own bacon:
Basic unsmoked bacon, from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook
How to make, cure and smoke homemade bacon, from imafoodblog
Curing and smoking bacon at home with mesquite or alder wood, from PlanterTomato

Where to buy artisanal bacon:
Bacon of the Month Club


Asparagus, cheese and bacon pizza on a whole wheat pita 

Asparagus, cheese and bacon pizza on a pita

Salty, smoky and gooey, this pita pizza makes a beautiful presentation for Sunday breakfast or brunch. Use whole wheat or oat bran pitas for the base. If you don't have asparagus, use zucchini rounds or mushroom slices. If you have a container of leftover bits of cheese in your freezer (doesn't everyone?), this is a great way to use it. Don't omit the egg; it brings everything together. Serves 2.

Ingredients

6 slices of bacon, any type
6 asparagus spears, trimmed
2 8-inch whole wheat pita breads
6-8 large, thin slices Cheddar, Swiss or other flavorful cheese (I like Dutch gouda)
2 large sprigs of thyme (optional)
2 Tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or shredded Gruyere or other cheese
2 eggs, at room temperature
Fresh black pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°F.

On the stove top, place bacon in a nonstick frying pan over low heat. Cook until bacon is browned but not crisp on both sides. Remove from the pan onto a plate covered with a paper towel, and dry the bacon.

In a small sauce pan, bring a couple of inches of water to the boil. Drop in the asparagus spears, and cook for 1 minute. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking action. Dry the asparagus on a towel, and set aside.

Set the pita bread on a rimmed baking sheet. On each pita, layer the sliced cheese, then the bacon, then the asparagus. Scatter thyme leaves here and there. Top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, then a bit of black pepper.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 5 minutes, until the cheese starts to melt. Remove from the oven (do not turn the oven off).

Without breaking the yolk, carefully crack one egg into a small bowl. Then slide the egg onto the center of one pizza. Repeat with the second egg. Return the pizza to the oven and cook for 10 minutes, or until the egg white is just set and the yolk is still runny. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with more pepper, and serve hot.


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Sausage, egg and asparagus pizza
Florida crab cakes
Traditional spaghetti gravy
Easy cassoulet
Vaca atolada ("cow stuck in the mud")

Other recipes that use bacon:
PB, chocolate chunk and bacon cookies, from Vanilla Sugar
Candied bacon ice cream, from David Lebovitz
Kimchi bacon deviled eggs, from The Bacon Show
Kale and bacon Caribbean style, from Steamy Kitchen
Bacon cups, from Not Martha

Comments

I think I just found a perfect go-to recipe for a weeknite dinner. Thank you, Lydia!!

this recipe is one of our dinner faves! i love this kind of meal in all its variations! Love it!

This is gorgeous, delish and runny yolks make my day (and sauce).

I occasionallly have strip bacon especially when I go out to a restaurant but mostly I eat a heart healthier back bacon or peameal bacon. I LOVE bacon!

i need to go to egg making school.....mine never look that perfect

Oh yum! I'd love to have that for breakfast! Your eggs are cooked just right!

I almost licked the computer screen!!

Great story about the history of "bringing home the bacon". Now I'm hoping that will show up in my next round of Trivial Pursuit. I love that this dish has a little bit of everything to make a really hearty, tasty meal.

Bacon rocks! My favorite is as a topping for maple glazed dounuts! You're pizza looks fabulous - picture perfect!

Thanks for the link! And while I consider myself pretty a well-read person, I'd never heard about the true origins of the phrase "bring home the bacon" before! Thanks for that bit of research! Cheers,

h.

"Bake bake" is an increasingly rare treat in our home, but somehow having it for dinner makes it seem alright. Love knowing origin of "bringing home the bacon".

now see this way makes eating assssparagus more bearable. LOL
thanks for the shout out my dear!

That reminds me of my favorite pizza from a tiny joint with a very Italian chef here in SF. But it's wayyyyy on the other side of town. Now I don't have to trek! I love it!

Bacon is a love affair for me!
true confession: I actually cook with bacon grease that I keep in the fridge. (I try to use in moderation but...)
one of my earliest food memories was sticking my nose up against a small smokehouse that our neighbors had to make their own bacon.
combined with cheese? asparagus? an egg on pizza! "sigh" It can't get much better!

Mystery solved, re: bring home the bacon. I had always wondered and knew it had to come from some deeper place than simply earning a living. Thanks, and the whole pita/pizza is great no matter the flavor.

This looks fabulous, Lydia. Perfect execution! I keep a bag of crumbled bacon in the freezer. I often add a teaspoon to various fixings for that smokey indisputable bacon flavor w/o much guilt since it's less fat.

This looks positively amazing... I only wish the hubby like runny egg yolks. Maybe I'll just eat this without him. ;)

Toni, Meeta, Peter, Kalyn, Pauline, Michelle: So glad to know this is your kind of thing. I love this for dinner with a green salad on the side, too.

Bellini Valli, believe me, it's rare that I have bacon in the pantry, and when I do, I use it for everything (watch for a bacon-flavored soup on Soup Chick).

Milton, the secret here is to crack the egg into a bowl, then gently slide it on to the hot pizza.

TW, I've never heard of that, but I imagine my husband's heart is going pitter-patter at the thought of maple, donut, and bacon all together.

Hank, Mary, Melynda: Isn't that a great story about bringing home the bacon?

Vanillasugar, please tell me you don't hate asparagus? It's one of my favorite vegetables.

EB, why trek across town when you can make it so easily at home?!

Carol, I can't imagine how wonderful it was to live next door to a smokehouse. The aromas must have been intoxicating.

Joan, crumbled cooked or uncooked? Sounds like a great idea.

So bacon's in the pantry? I've been wondering about what constitutes pantry ingredients since you opened the Market to Pantry Saturday feature. I bought some bacon just this weekend, getting ready for BLTs. Your pita pizza is very attractive but I don't *do* runny egg yolks, so I will pass.

I love this idea! I have seen so many creative recipes with eggs lately, this looks so wonderful!

OhMyGosh does this look fabulous - my dinner plans have just changed!

That is a beautful dish Lydia. We eat a lot of egg dishes here, whether it is breakfast or another meal.
Bacon is one of those things that everyone loves, and it is good with so many things. I put it on top of my baked beans today for more smoky flavor. I buy most of my bacon from a small independent pork sausage company that is not far from me. They have bacon that fries like it is supposed to, instead of boiling in it's own juices in the frying pan. The owner of the company said that happens with bacon that has certain chemicals added to it to preserve it longer. They hickory smoke it right on the premises and it takes longer to do this than spray it with liquid smoke to flavor cheap bacon.

this recipe is insane! but I mean that in a good way, of course. As much as I love bacon, I don;t buy it all that much either. Not sure why. All I know is a world without bacon is not one I want to live in

Oh my gosh. This looks insane - pure food porn.

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About The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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