I don’t talk very much about being a vegetarian. It’s so much a part of my life, that it doesn’t really seem notable any more. But I’ve been thinking lately that I’d like to tell the world about my idea of being a joyful vegetarian. Not depriving myself of anything, but so completely happy and satisfied with the ridiculous amount of good things to eat that don’t involve killing animals, that there’s really no need and no time to eat an animal at all. However…when I smell bacon cooking, I do miss it a little bit. Which might be why I dreamed this! I’d like to say it has everything that bacon has, minus the blood and bad-for-you-ness. It’s smokey and salty and crunchy.
I must have been reading about rusks, because in my dream I baked these at an incredibly low temperature for a very long time. But in reality, I didn’t want them to be so hard you had to soak them in water before you ate them. I wanted them to be very very crispy, and a little bit chewy on the inside. So then my mind turned to different possibilities. I thought about pizza crust, I thought about crackers. I thought about naan. In the end I decided to do some combination of naan and pastry dough and maybe a little pizza crust, though no yeast. I even did streaks of smoked gouda to give you some of the different streaks of color one might encounter, you know…in bacon. And I pan-fried them in olive oil. Mmmmmmm.
Here’s Cisco Huston with Beans, Bacon and Gravy. I’m sorry, Cisco, but I never get tired of beans!
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 t smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 t salt
lots of fresh ground pepper
4 T frozen butter
3 T olive oil, plus more for frying
1 cup very finely grated smoked gouda
1/2 – 3/4 ice water with a dash of marmite and a dash of tamari
In a large bowl combine the the flour, salt, pepper and paprika.
Add 3 T of olive oil, and work it between your fingers until it feels as though every grain of flour has oil on it. It will feel like fine wet sand.
Grate in the frozen butter, and mix it in till it’s completely incorporated.
Add the water with the marmite and tamari. Just enough to pull it together into a ball.
Add the very finely grated gouda, and mix it in. You don’t want it to be completely incorporated, but you want it to all be in a nice tidy ball in the end. Which you’ll stick back in the fridge for a few hours.
When you’re ready to cook…preheat the oven to 200.
Put a large frying pan on a medium high burner. Add enough olive oil to make a fairly thick coating. Maybe 1/3 inch. When it’s hot enough that a pinch of dough sizzles when you drop it in, you’re good to go.
Meanwhile, you’ve been taking small balls of dough and rolling them to be long and thin. Maybe 1/4/ inch by 1 1/2 inches by 6 inches. Make a plate of these.
When the oil is hot, place these as many as will fit flat on the pan. I could do three at a time. Let them cook for a few minutes. When the bottom is brown and sizzly, turn it over and cook the other side till it’s brown and sizzly. This process will speed up as you go along. If you run out of olive oil, add a little bit to the pan.
Once the “bacon” slices are cooked, set them in a single layer on a baking sheet, and put them in the oven to keep warm and dry out a bit as you wait for everything to cook.
I shook some salt over everything, but they turned out very salty, so you might want to taste them first!