If you actually hail from Canada, you probably know this breakfast meat by its proper name: peameal bacon. Then again, if you're from other parts of the world, you may recognize it as back bacon. No matter what you call it or where you're from, I think we can all agree that thick slices of this bacon make a mighty fine addition to the breakfast table.
Canadian bacon is more like ham than the cured and smoked strips of bacon that most of us are used to. That bacon comes from the fatty belly of the pig; Canadian bacon is typically cut from the loin. As such, it's much leaner than belly bacon and comes in rounded slices rather than strips.
If Canadian bacon is cured at all, it's usually done in a basic brine. Sometimes it's smoked, though not always. In Canada, the loin is also rolled in ground yellow peas or cornmeal before being sliced, leading to the "peameal" moniker. Sliced thick or thin, this bacon has a sweet flavor and a tender, juicy texture even when fried.
A slice of Canadian bacon on eggs benedict is both traditional and fantastically good. Its sweet ham flavor with the runny egg, rich hollandaise sauce, and toasted english muffin is culinary perfection.
Beyond this, Canadian bacon can be sliced into a breakfast hash, folded into an omelet, or served on the side with a plate of pancakes. It also doesn't have to be strictly a breakfast meat. We can chop it up for a pizza topping, toss it with pasta for a lower-fat carbonara, or slice it into thin ribbons to round out a quick bowl of soup.
Try it out in these recipes:
• Eggs Benedict from The Pioneer Woman • Sweet Potato and Canadian Bacon Hash from Cooking Light via MyRecipes • Canadian Bacon Strata from Martha Stewart • Fried Rice with Canadian Bacon from Epicurious • Carnivore Carnival Pizza from Whipped
And if you're interested in making your own Canadian bacon, take a look at Michael Ruhlman's recipe:
• Canadian Bacon: Brining Basics from Michael Ruhlman
How do you cook with Canadian bacon?
(Image: Ree Drummond from The Pioneer Woman)