Back in September, Jake, Pia, Brian, Jenn, Mike, and I went to Edible Monterey Bay's pop-up dinner at La Crème. While many of the flavor combinations that Chef Jon created were unforgettable, one stood out in my mind and has inspired me to experiment: bacon jam. You read that correctly - salty, smoky bacon + sticky, sweet jam. I started with David Leite's version, then tweaked to make this...
1 pound applewood smoked bacon
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely diced
2 t crushed garlic
3/4 C espresso
1/2 C pear vinegar
1/2 C raw turbinado sugar
1/4 C wildflower honey
1/4 C unsulphered molasses
Place the bacon in a large, flat-bottom pan and begin to render the fat. Add in the fennel and garlic and cook until softened. Add in the sugar, then pour in the liquids, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, until all of the liquid has been absorbed. The jam will be dark, caramelized, and delicious.
I plan to use this to adorn some goat cheese tarts this weekend. Look for a recipe soon!