Say a bad word about bacon these days, and you might as well be insulting someone’s momma. So forgive us when we say that bacon’s pervasiveness has gotten a bit much. Fortunately, chefs are crisping up cracklings from a menagerie of other animals: chicken (the fried skins are called gribenes in traditional Yiddish cooking), duck, salmon, lamb, Mexican-style chicharrón (crisped pork fat), even scallops. Since they should be eaten sparingly (they are fat, after all), “using these items on salads as a texture garnish is the way to go,” says Edward Leonard, vice president for culinary education at Cordon Bleu cooking schools. Executive chef Nicholas Bour of Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego dissents on this trend: “Yes, it tastes great, but the trend should be dwindling as consumers and diners continue to educate themselves on healthy eating.” Pictured: chicharrón with citrus baby arugula salad at Wynwood Kitchen & Bar in Miami.
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