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Bacon! with Chef Tom Black and Seattle Uncorked

I haven’t been to a cooking class for quite a long time and had been looking for something to provide a little culinary inspiration.  When a bacon class with Chef Tom Black came to my attention via an update from Seattle Uncorked I jumped on it!
I’ve been familiar with Chef’s work since his days at Barking Frog Restaurant at Willows Lodge where I have enjoyed many wonderful meals.  As I talked to him throughout the evening it actually turns out I’ve probably been enjoying his work for much longer than that, I just hadn’t realized all the places our paths have probably crossed.  For the last few years he’s been doing a variety of things but is now thinking about and planning a place of his own.  He wouldn’t tell us too much since he didn’t want the bloggers in the room to let the cat out of the bag too soon.  I’ll take that up with him another day….. 
The Seattle Uncorked cooking events are always a lot of fun.  There were just twelve students and the idea is that everyone helps out with some part of the preparation and work but you are free to flow from one task to another as something catches your interest.  And, even though this a wine club, for these events the focus is really on the food, the preparation and hands-on experience, although there is always plenty of wine to go around. 
The class I took was held at David LeClaire, Seattle Uncorked’s founder’s house, but there are two more of these classes scheduled in September at Albert Lee Appliance.  If you are already a member of the group you can see the event info here.  If you’re not a member all you have to do is sign-up – registration is free – and you’ll have access to the events.  I also hear that Chef Black will be preparing the Fall Release Dinners at Waters Winery in Walla Walla on November 5 and 6.  The information is not yet on their site but if you are interested you can call the winery (509.525.1590) for more information or to reserve a spot. 
But back to this class…. 
As you can probably tell from the title this was a class all about bacon.  The official class name was Swine and Wine.  Chef gave us background about making and curing different types of bacon and included recipes for making bacon, lardo and pancetta in our packet.  Then the rest of the night was spent making our bacon-centric recipes, asking questions as we went along, and enjoying the results of our labor. 
The menu for the night included:
  • A bacon "sampling"
  • Bacon Spread on baguette (Bacon Spread is the new name for Skillet’s bacon jam)
  • Bacon-wrapped Stuffed Prawns
  • Frisée Salad, Bacon Lardoons and Poached Egg
  • Bacon Explosion
  • Candied Bacon

In case it’s not obvious we were stuffed by the end of the night.  And very, very thirsty, too! 

It was fun sampling the different bacon brands and types.  Although I’ve had many different types of bacon, normally not all at one time where they could be compared.  The bacon-wrapped prawns were actually rather light and refreshing as bacon is a complement, not the focus of the dish.  This is a great party appetizer since you do some preparation work but then the guests do the final assembly on their own.  I’ve included the recipe below. 

The frisée salad is a classic and one I could eat nearly every day.  I learned a couple of egg-poaching tips which I now need to try out.  The Bacon Explosion was a heart-wrenching experience.  Super rich, a little goes a long way.  It was good and a little overwhelming but if it was the only bacon dish on your menu, it would be a decadent meat treat.  I almost passed on the Candied Bacon since I was so stuffed but I’m really glad I didn’t.  I’ve made sugared or mapled bacon in the past but this was cooked slowly so that the bacon becomes soft, pliant and a little chewy instead of crisp.  It was a nice end to the evening. 

I’ve included a few photos here in this post but to get a better idea of what the night was like watch a slide show of all the photos or just browse them here.  If you are interested in the classes don’t delay!  They normally fill fairly fast. 


Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Prawns

  • 1 orange, sectioned, seeded and chopped
  • 1 hot red chili, stemmed and chopped
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 large shrimp, shelled and deveined (for this class we used smaller shrimp, 21-30/pound and they were a nice appetizer size)
  • 3 to 4 slices bacon cut into 2 – 3 inch sections – you want them to wrap  around the shrimp just once with a slight overlap
  • 8 leaves of Bibb or Boston lettuce

Preheat the broiler to high.

In a bowl stir together the orange, pepper, scallions, cilantro, olive oil and then salt and pepper to taste.

Wrap each shrimp with a section of bacon and secure with a wooden toothpick.  Put the shrimp on a baking sheet and broil turning once.  The bacon should be crisp and the shrimp cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. 

To serve, remove the toothpick from a shrimp, place it in a lettuce leaf and then add some of the citrus sauce over the top.  Eat and enjoy!


Sign up for the next class here

Enjoy dinner by Chef Tom Black at Waters Winery.  Call 509.525.1590 for more information or reservations.


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