I started up my CSA for vegetables a few weeks ago, and have been veritably drowning in spring greens since. Before my first CSA, I had not heard the term “Asian greens,” and now I can recite to you the names and general descriptions of several types of Asian greens. From the familiar bok choy to mizuna to several varieties of Chinese cabbage, I’ve seen it all.
This recipe is what happens when you can’t stomach the idea of more stir-fried Asian greens and also spot a recipe for bacon tacos. Unbelievably, it took until spring 2013 for me to hear of bacon tacos, made with good old-fashioned American bacon instead of its in-vogue, possibly a teensy bit overrated cousin, pork belly.
I admit to being worn out by the omnipresence of bacon over the last few years. I really don’t need bacon in my cupcakes and jello and perfume, thanks, but I also spent my four months in Scotland bitterly resenting the UK for trying to pass off back bacon as an acceptable substitute for proper bacon. That is to say, bacon, just good bacon, thick cut and fired, is delicious. People have been pairing it with tough greens for so long for a reason. And it possesses the bit of crunch and chew that makes so many classic taco meats great.
The caramelized onions, cooked of course in bacon fat, lend sweetness to the greens’ bitterness. I used cheddar cheese in these photos, but the next day I turned the filling into a sandwich with goat cheese, and you know what, definitely use that. Or queso fresco, which is what I would have used if the store had any I could find. (See: problems I never had in my old neighborhood.).
Bacon tacos with spring greens and caramelized onions
This is less a recipe and more some loose guidelines. Use the amount of greens you have/want to get rid, and adjust your bacon according to your own tastes. This amount fed me twice, but heartier appetites will laugh at this idea. I charred the tortillas directly over my gas stove’s flame, which was essentially directly taunting my smoke alarm to start going off, but does do wonders for storebought corn tortillas.
3-4 slices of thick-cut bacon
1 yellow onion, sliced thin
1-2 bunches greens (kale, swiss chard, mustard, Asian, etc), stems and ribs removed, torn into pieces (you’ll have roughly 6-8 cups)
Aleppo or red pepper flakes
cheddar, queso fresco, or goat cheese, grated or crumbled as appropriate
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and set aside. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add in onions and a few pinches of salt.
Cook onions about 20-30 minutes, stirring fairly frequently. Onions will be caramelized, or you know, close enough.
Add the pepper and saute 1 minute. Toss in the greens and 1/4 teaspoon or so of salt and saute 2-5 minutes, or until greens are thoroughly wilted.
Heat up a few corn tortillas, either in a pan or char directly over flame. Break the bacon in pieces, and divide the bacon and greens-onion mixture between the tortillas. Top with cheese, and eat.