Barding is a process of wrapping foods with strips of bacon to keep it moist while it cooks, and gives it extra flavor. This is often done with poultry to keep it from drying out. As it cooks, the fat oozes into the meat. This bastes the meat instead of having to do it by hand. It also keeps meat from burning, but the bacon can be removed toward the end of cooking time so the meat can brown. Some people also like to wrap some fruits and vegetables with bacon before grilling them to add extra flavor.

Larding is another way of adding flavor to meats. Instead of wrapping with bacon, the fat is infused into meat with a hollow needle made for this purpose. The larding needle is filled with fat, and when it is taken out of the meat, the bacon fat is left inside, adding moisture and a delicious flavor.

Lardons is the French term for cutting bacon into short, narrow pieces. They could be called a larger version of bacon bits. Originally their purpose was to add deeper bacon flavor and moisture to lean pieces of meat by inserting the pieces right into the meat before it was cooked. As it cooked, the bacon oozed out into the meat to give it extra flavor. But it was soon discovered that these pieces could add a delicious flavor when added to many foods.

To cook them that way, slice cold bacon into pieces about one quarter inch wide and put into a pan over medium high heat with just a little olive oil. Stir occasionally until the lardons are crisp. The best way to remove them from the pan is with a slotted spoon so the fat will drip into the pan. The fat has a delicious bacon flavor, and can be used like any other fat in recipes.

One word of caution: don't cook them with other ingredients, such as onions. Because of moisture content the lardons won't get crispy and develop their special bacon flavor. Also if they are cooked with foods that have a strong flavor, it can overpower the taste of the bacon.

These tasty pieces are used in many different ways. They go well with eggs, and many cooks add them to quiches and other egg dishes. They are also used to flavor soups, top baked potatoes, and add a delicious flavor to salads.

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