Bacon fever may seem of-the-moment, but this hipster trend is as old as your thrifted granny dress. "When times were hard, the frugal standpoint was to cook with byproducts -- not for flavor or kitsch, but out of necessity," explains Executive Editorial Director of Food Lucinda Scala Quinn. "Now, with the canning, fermenting, and do-it-yourself revolutions, old-school methods are being reimagined and reused."
In honor of International Bacon Day, use leftover drippings in salad dressing, pasta or pancakes.
Add Edge to Veg
Think of leftover grease as an all-purpose source of umami oomph. "I use a dollop to cook greens from collards and chard to cabbage," says Lucinda. "It brings in flavor without using an abundance of meat." Experiment with simple sauteed kale, or chard or go whole hog with a more elaborate dish: Glazed Squashes and Sweet Potato is one of our favorites.
In a Salad Dressing
After crisping the bacon for this frisee salad, whisk reserved drippings with lemon juice, salt, and pepper to give every last leaf a savory slick. Subbing grease for oil works best with warm salads like this, also Potato and Watercress and Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese.
As a Soup Garnish
A fine drizzle on soup is like hot fudge on a sundae: probably unnecessary, but who's going to put up a fight? This pig-packed recipe would have you toss all but two tablespoons of grease, but you know better -- save it to dress up your next bowl. Try it as a topping for lentil, squash, or corn soups. (And don't be afraid to saute other soup ingredients in the leftover grease.)
To Fry a Sweet Breakfast...
If the thriving market for maple-bacon goodies hasn't sold you, the smoky-sweet taste of these piping hot cakes sure will. Want to kick things up another notch? Put bacon inside them, too.
To Cook Meat, Blatantly Irresponsibly
Bacon-fried chicken. Chicken fried in bacon. No matter how you word it, the next word out of your mouth should be "yes." It's so wrong that it's so, so right. (Try a bacon-infused Chicken Cheesesteak, too.)
More from Martha Stewart:
Hands Down, The 20 Grilling Recipes You Must Try This Summer
35 Beyond Delicious No-Bake Dessert Recipes
20 Delicious New Brown-Bag Lunch Ideas
Martha Stewart's All-Time Favorite Dessert Recipes
When we said everything, we meant everything. More bacon goodness below!