Last Monday, when Sam was craving for a bacon fix and was asking if we had bacon in the freezer, Speedy and I told her about an extraordinary way to cook bacon that we saw on TV. Bacon tempura. Thin, thin strips of belly bacon dipped in tempura batter and deep fried. It’s crispy bacon made even crispier. Neither Speedy nor I have tried executing the dish. It was just one of those items in our “to do” list filed away in a mental folder marked “wicked, decadent and with 99.9% probability of turning out delicious.”
Sam, however, did not need a lot prodding. She asked me how to make tempura batter and I told her half-absentmindedly as we were on a Harry Potter DVD marathon. Some twenty minutes later, we were all munching on bacon tempura. The plate was almost empty when she asked if that was really all there was to the dish. The bacon tempura was perfect without anything else but, okay, I told her exactly how the golden crispy strips of salty, fatty meat were served in the Food Network snippet that we saw. They were served on top of a vegetable salad, I said to her.
A day later, we were at the supermarket buying salad vegetables and more bacon. Just look at how the dish turned out.
Except for the salad dressing which I volunteered to make, Sam and Alex did the bacon tempura salad between themselves. Sam cooked the bacon tempura while Alex prepped the vegetables. Sam assembled the dish and then drizzled some of the dressing.
- 250 grams belly bacon (rashers), cut into three-inch lengths
- tempura batter (see notes after the recipe)
- 2 cups vegetable oil for deep frying
- 1 small head iceberg lettuce shredded
- 1 cucumber (peeled or unpeeled), thinly sliced
- 4 to 6 plump and juicy tomatoes thinly sliced
Make the dressing.
Stir together the olive oil, yogurt and garlic until smooth. Add the lemon juice, honey and some salt and pepper. Taste. Add more salt and pepper, as needed. Stir in the parsley.
Heat the cooking oil until fine wisps of smoke start to appear. Dip each strip of bacon in the batter and fry, a few pieces at a time, until golden and crisp. Drain on a stack of paper towels.
Time to assemble the salad. Line a large plate with the shredded lettuce. Scatter the cucumber and tomato slices on top. Pile the bacon tempura on top of the vegetables.
Drizzle some of the yogurt and honey dressing over the bacon tempura and vegetables. Serve the rest on the side.
There are different variations for making tempura batter. Basically, it's just iced water and flour or starch, or a combination of flour and starch. Some add a whole egg, others just only the egg white. Salt and pepper and other ground spices may be added as well. I'll leave it to you to decide which formula to use for the tempura batter.