Wild Salmon w/ Shiitake ‘Bacon’ Bits & Spring Vegetables

Warning bacon lovers: The word ‘bacon’ was used 22 times in this post. Actually it’s 24 times now. Some people have been known to enter a trance at the repeated sound of bacon (25 times). Read at your own risk.

After indulging on everything pork this week-end i wanted to redeem myself and prepare something quick and healthy for dinner. No, no, nooo i have not turned vegetarian on you yet, my romance with bacon is very much alive and kicking but tonight i wanted wild salmon for dinner. The twist was to make it taste a bit like eh… bacon, but without using bacon. Not only i wanted a bacon-tasting salmon but it had to taste like spring too. It’s the poet in me, i think. Some of you might be wondering who is this guy and why does he want his salmon to taste like bacon!?.. Well, isn’t it everyone’s aspiration in life to taste like bacon? Duh!? I mean come on!!

Sometimes you have to put diet first and while i still believe bacon fat preserve you from the effects of aging you should also never trust a zenchef to tell you what’s good or bad for you, medically speaking. For some reason i wasn’t accepted in medical school, they even told my application would be rejected as long as i’m alive. Maybe it was sarcasm, i don’t know. I can carve a chicken as fast as Martin Yan though! Can you imagine me turning around surgeries as fast as hush puppies at a street fair? Hmm… I think i got sidetracked again.

So much about bacon for a recipe that doesn’t even use bacon, you gotta feel the love! Some dude once said “The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star.” I think it was my fellow countryman Brillat-Savarin. With that in mind, i roasted some shiitake mushrooms with olive oil and salt until crispy (mushroom chips) before cutting them into small ‘lardons’. A touch of smoked paprika turned them into, guess what… bacon! Yes, it taste just like bacon. Intense, rich, smoky and crispy. Bacon!!!

I made a quick vinaigrette with sherry vinegar, spanish olive oil, shiitake ‘bacon’ bits and smoked paprika and served a nice drizzle over the roasted wild salmon and it was supergood – which means beyond good. Some fava beans, fresh peas, asparagus tips, roasted cherry tomatoes on the vine with a sprinkle of fleur de sel took care of the spring part. Here you have it friends, seasonal, quick, healthy but still bacony.

No recipe today, this is instinctive cooking. Have fun. Oh,and one more thing… bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon. bacon… Ok, i’ll shut up about bacon now. Enjoy! :-)

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  • canarygirl

    Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaammit man! The juicy tender salmon…the ‘bacon’ shrooms, a bed of luscious spring vegetables. I think I have died and gone to heaven, Zen.

  • Peter M

    Salmon and bacon? I like your version of “surf & turf” and I’d love to see your butchering skills too!

  • Mary Coleman

    You’re such a hoot, Zen!
    Looks so good.

  • waliz

    by the time i finish reading yr post..i’ve decided i had enough of baco already…thank u zen!!

  • Elle

    You are a genius! That is all.

  • Ann

    I demand a recipe! “…instinctive cooking,” my ass!

    Looks fabulous, zen-man!

  • SteamyKitchen

    (to David Bowie’s Changes song)

    (Turn and face the pan)
    Don’t want to be a fatter strand
    (Turn and face the pan)
    Just gonna have settle for season’in
    Time may change me
    But I can’t fry fat

  • Clumbsy Cookie

    I’ll stop coming here.. you allways make me hungry…

  • Meghan

    What a great idea! I can’t wait to try shitake and paprika to create BACONess…

  • Chicopea

    ooOOhh I love mock meat. And its so much better for your digestion -no need to open every window in the house!

  • Manggy

    Excellent! I just happen to have some pimenton here! (Hey, why didn’t you try to use that other lovely vegetarian bacon alternative, BAC-OS?! Hahahaha! Don’t carve me!)

    What I don’t have, though, is Fleur de Sel. I got all excited when I saw it imported at a local grocery, but when I flipped the canister so tiny that I could swallow it whole, I saw the price was about $26. I nearly vomited on the grocery aisle!

  • cakewardrobe

    Next time put your dinner next to this bacon (hmm 26 times cause I said it) bed!! Maybe it will infuse together.

    Tee hee

  • My Sweet & Saucy

    So wish you could cook for me every night!

  • chiff0nade

    I don’t eat bacon, or anything else that is fried. I care too much about my health and my hour-glass figure to eat stuff like that.

    But then, that’s just me.

    Of course, very few 50-year old women have a figure like mine.

  • EAT!

    Love the salmon and bacon combo.

  • Dirty Kitchen Secrets

    Haha! I am on a serious detox at the moment and although i can’t have the salmon I will for sure be makin ‘bacon’ tomorrow morning! I am soooo excited thank you Zen Man!

  • Joy the Baker

    I think I can say with all certainty that I would like EVERYTHING to taste like bacon. Bacon is simply amazing. Your salmon looks simply incredible!

  • Mochachocolata Rita

    it is my aspiration to eat bacon every day wahahahahohoho…i’ll accept you in medical school of mochachocolatarita if you recommend me to eat bacon every day

  • cakebrain

    You can’t go wrong with bacon in my books. The salmon looks luscious!

  • Tartelette

    So bacon but there is no bacon?! Brilliant! The ‘shrooms sure look like little lardons…a little frisee with that and would totally rock my spring :)

  • Dhanggit

    all your salmon photos put me in trance..without a doubt you are the “salmon master”! i love the way its sleeping proudly on the bed veggies :-)

  • Flanboyant Eats

    y not send me some of that smoked paprika!?? :)

    love the shiitake sans the bacon bits…


  • Catherine Wilkinson

    Very creative, zen.
    Although I do feel bacon is a food group.

  • cook eat FRET

    just watched your video and caught up on your past posts

    I LOVE YOU !!!

  • b

    What a great dish!! It looks very fresh and light but with the promising taste of bacon?! Even better!

  • Mike of Mike’s Table

    lol, bacon bacon bacon! That is interesting though–getting the bacon flavor from mushrooms.

  • Chicopea

    No way! I’m at MoMA on 53rd. At least you don’t have to struggle with lunch here- you get to make your own 5-star food and leave the rest of us mortals to suffer. booo! Thx for the site, love it :)

  • Brilynn

    Bacon? More like facon! Interesting idea that I will definitely try, but I refuse to call it bacon, there is no lovely pork there!

  • Jenny

    Seriously master chef, your pictures are ridiculous, in a good way!

  • diva@theSugarBar

    this is fantastic! blimey. the salmon is perfectly cooked. i’ve heard of people cooking bacon with salmon but i’ve never tried it myself. because this looks persuasive as hell, i’m going to the fishmonger’s next week!

  • Kevin

    Wheres the bacon? It looks really good!

  • White On Rice Couple

    The shiitake bacon bits are very clever. This is a beautiful dish for my seafood loving friends!
    I just added two different kinds of pimenton to our pantry this last month. This is perfect, I can now pull them out and use them!

  • Colloquial Cook

    I love how this blog gets high brow with casually dropped Brillat-Savarin quotes. Not to mention I completely agree with the old Jean Anthelme.
    Non mais sans blague, transformer des champignons en lardons, c’est énorme. C’est culotté aussi, comme toi 😉

  • jesse

    Posts like this remind me why you’re my number one chef. Low-fat bacon?? I LOVE YOU! Ahh!!!

  • Susan from Food Blogga

    Ok, Zen Man, tell me again why you’re counting the number of times bacon appears in this post? Strange, but I’m starting to feel sleepy, very, very sleepy….

  • farida

    I love salmon, but not bacon:) Sad. Your salmon looks great though!

  • Lore

    OMG! I wouldn’t mind eating bacon if it comes so nicely wrapped up. Stylish and delish 😀

  • F.O.T.

    I can’t stop staring at it….

    Who is this?

  • foodhuntress79

    Brillat- Savarin, I agree perfectly. Where did I read that? Michael Ruhlman’s book?

    It doesnt matter what the correlation of salmon’s upstream swim is to its great taste. There’s the bacon to.. ah.. add flavor? Haha. Ohh.. this looks good. :)

  • Lauren @ Parsnips Aplenty

    I am often annoyed by vegetarians who cook like they miss meat, but I gotta say, sometimes I just want some bacon. That veggie bacon stuff frightens me. This, however, could work.

  • Chrismg25

    oooooommmmggggg hahaha