Applewood Smoked Bacon Balsamic Jam
- 1 1/2 pounds Applewood smoked bacon
- 2 teaspoons lightly salter butter
- 4 sweet Vadalia onions, diced
- 1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 teaspoons cask-aged balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Brie or Gruyere cheese sliced thin
- Fry Applewood smoked bacon in a large, iron skillet (or heavy dutch oven) and fry over medium heat until your bacon is crispy and the rendered fat is foaming, about 10 minutes. Pour bacon and rendered fat through a strainer (reserving the bacon fat) over a bowl.
- When fat is fully drained (and bacon has cooled), take bacon to a cutting board and finely chop.
- Return iron skillet to medium heat; adding back 2 tsps reserved bacon fat and 2 tsps butter into the skillet.
- Sauté sweet onions and 1 teaspoon kosher sea salt until they are soft and translucent, about 7 to 10 minutes.
- Stir in the ¼ cup light brown sugar, ¼ cup red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, 1 tsp ground black pepper, and a pinch of cayenne into onion mixture; then add the chopped bacon.
- Stir ½ cup water into the bacon mixture and simmer until the mixture is a brick-brown bacon color and has a jam consistency, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove skillet from the heat and stir in the cask-aged balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon thyme into the jam; stir until shiny and heated through.
- Use as a spread on toast, a base for bruschetta, or any other application worthy of such decadence (adding a thin slice of Brie or Gruyere cheese makes a nice addition to each piece of toast).
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