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Bacon dressing is a condiment which features bacon crumbles as a focal ingredient. It can be used on salads, but it can also be utilized on cooked vegetables, as a bread dip, or as a rich addition to sandwiches. Some markets sell bacon dressing, and it is also possible to make this condiment at home, in several different variations. Cooks can also choose to add bacon bits to dressing which has already been made for a quick version of bacon dressing.
The key to bacon dressing is the bacon, which is traditionally fried until it turns crispy. The crispy bacon is then crumbled into small chunks. Some people prefer to slice their bacon into thin strips before adding it to the pan, creating more uniformly-sized chunks which stand out in the dressing. For vegetarians, vegetarian bacon bits can be used very effectively to make a “bacon” dressing.
This dressing can be served hot or cold, depending on the taste of the cook and the situation. Hot bacon dressing tends to feel less greasy and heavy, and it also spreads easily, making it difficult to over-dress a food. Cold dressing has a more intense flavor, and it can be very greasy and thick, depending on how it was prepared.
One version of bacon dressing uses a simple vinaigrette as a base. After the bacon is heated and the lard is drained from the pan, vinegar and oil can be thrown into the pan to warm up, with cooks adding seasonings such as herbs, salt, sugar, pepper, mustard, or lemon. When the mixture is warm, the bacon crumbles can be added back in, and the dressing can be served immediately. This technique can also be used to make a cold bacon dressing; to avoid soggy bacon bits, some cooks keep the bacon on the side until the dressing is ready to be served.
Another version of bacon dressing uses a creamy base, resulting in a very rich dressing, and it is usually served cold. Sour cream, yogurt, and buttermilk can all be used in the base, which typically includes herbs as well. A ranch dressing base can also be utilized for this type of bacon dressing. Because of the cream and the fat from the bacon, a creamy bacon dressing can be quite intense, and it tends to pair best with crunchy, high-moisture, refreshing foods like lettuce and tomatoes, rather than heavier foods like bread.