Restaurant Ingredients: Pork Lardons

So while it’s perfectly fine to ask a waiter what in the world a particular ingredient is, sometimes it’s good to just know yourself. I’ll be detailing some ingredients from some of my favorite restaurants. If you have more to add, let me know!

Ingredient: Pork Lardons

Dish: Macaroni and Cheese with Pork Lardons

Place: Casellula Cheese and Wine Café, Hell’s Kitchen NYC

Pork Lardons are basically pieces of pork fat. Kind of like an intense bacon. In French cuisine lardons are served hot in salads and salad dressings, as well as on some tartes, in flambées, stews such as beef bourguignon, quiches such as Quiche Lorraine, in omelettes, with potatoes, and for other dishes such as coq au vin. So basically they use it a lot in France. Lardons are also the term used for bacon that is diced into small pieces.

But why use it? What’s wrong with good old bacon? The pork lardons actually infuse lots of pork fat and keep things moist. It’s salty, and adds rich flavor to meat dishes. Lardons can be crisped to add texture and flavor. They actually add a great flavor to dishes such as Casellula’s macaroni and cheese.

What’s ridiculous about this all is that I don’t actually eat pork. But as you all know, I love macaroni and cheese. So I asked Casellula, what’s the deal – is the macaroni and cheese made with the pork in the dish? Answer is no. It’s used for a garnish only. The pork flavor is so strong in these little suckers that using it as a flavoring for the top of the mac and cheese is plenty.

Here are a few recipes that use park lardons:

~ Dana