Non-Meat Foods to Be Cooked With Animal Fats

If you’ve spent any time on these places, then you know that my life is mostly sponsored by duck fat . Whether it’s turkey legs or making mayonnaise , I live largely on the rich smoky flavor that Graisse de Canard brings to the dining table.

But the duck is not the only animal that produces beautifully flavored fat. Schmalz (chicken fat), goose fat, and bacon fat find delicious uses in the kitchen, especially when preparing vegetables or other non-meat delicacies. Here are some of my favorites:

Parts of plants, both green and starchy

If you are not doing anything with these animal fats, you should cook some potatoes. Brush a large old blush with any of the above, then salt it liberally before baking for the best baked potato of your life, and bacon-fried carrots or Brussels sprouts need little additional seasoning.

I am also very partial to mushrooms fried with both bacon fat and duck fat, as mushrooms are basically little sponges, and if they are going to soak up anything, it might as well be bacon fat. All of these animal fats are great for frying rice as well, especially if it’s a vegetable recipe that would benefit from a light meaty flavor.

Pastries, bread and biscuits.

There’s nothing wrong with a traditional buttery crust, but this thyme and duck fat dough wants to be your new best friend. While it makes sense to save it for savory dishes, I think it’s even better as a foil for sweet apple pie.

But the duck isn’t the only bird that makes bread better. Using Schmalz to make brioches gives you bread with a very tender crumb and tender crust, and I have long been a fan of making both biscuits and corn bread with ghee from bacon.

Super fatty mayonnaise

Homemade mayonnaise is great, but homemade duck fat mayonnaise subtly changes life. By replacing some of the neutral butter with ghee, you will have a richer flavor and richer texture. I made mayonnaise with duck, goose and bacon fat, and it all greatly improved the quality of my sandwiches.

Best scrambled eggs

I grew up eating what my dad called “dirty eggs,” meaning that they cracked right in the still very greasy bacon skillet moments after the crispy pork strips were removed. These eggs not only have the crispest edges, but they are also decorated with small specks of burnt bacon and do not need additional salt. To be honest, I didn’t know people fry eggs with nothing but bacon fat until I moved to Los Angeles at the age of seven, which coincidentally was around the same time I learned that you can extract oil from olives.

Sinful salad dressing

Pouring hot beef fat over a salad may sound a little perverse, but a hot bacon vinaigrette (or schmalz vinaigrette, or duck fat vinaigrette) makes one wonderfully wilted salad. You can also mix any of these fats in your favorite vinaigrette for a meaty base, but you will need to leave some vegetable oil in the bottle (at least half the volume) for it to flow.


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