Should You Blanch Bacon for Recipes?

Adding bacon to a recipe gives it a smoky and salty flavor that can be great or overpowering, depending on the dish. If you're worried that a particularly smoky or salty bacon might overwhelm the other flavors in a dish, like coq au vin (pictured), consider blanching it first.

Chowhound user Wapptor recently experimented with various blanching times. Using Nueske's bacon, which is particularly smoky and salty, Wapptor blanched pieces for 5, 10, and 15 minutes. After 5 minutes, the bacon still had a mild smoky flavor; after 10 minutes, almost no smoke flavor remained. But 15 minutes proved just too long, essentially destroying the bacon.

Then again, if you're worried about the smoky flavors of bacon overpowering a dish, Monch recommends using salt pork instead. You may still want to blanch this to remove some of the salt, but since salt pork isn't smoked, you only have to worry about taming one strong element, not two.

Discuss: Blanching Bacon

Coq au vin photo by Flickr member Ewan-M under Creative Commons