French fries, tater tots, and even the humble baked potato all like to get dressed up with a special dip to match the occasion. Ketchup, mayo, or sour cream are common condiments, but they can get a little humdrum. Instead of playing it safe, get a little daring to your spud. Transform bacon into a smoky, spiced dip for your potatoes.
Bacon dip, like bacon dressing and bacon soup, is made by pulverizing a few strips of crispy, cooked bacon into a base of some kind. Doing so permeates the mixture with bacon’s salty, smoky, and meaty flavor, distributing it more effectively than simply sprinkling chopped bacon on top of your tots. Bacon confetti usually bounces right off, but blending bacon into your dip will break the strips into hundreds of tiny meat particles, suspending them in the base mixture. Each fry dipped will be coated with bacon sauce (and bacon flavor). Bacon bits had the right idea, they just didn’t go far enough.
I find a thin dipping sauce made with an unsaturated fat, like olive oil, makes for a sophisticated sauce that I can customize with spices, but you could certainly use melted butter, or a thicker condiment as the base, like mayo. Adding bacon to a liquid fat versus a paste or an emulsion is a slightly different process, but simple nonetheless.
For an oil or butter sauce, add the fat to a blender, small food processor, or cup that can accommodate an immersion blender (my preference). Add a couple broken strips of well-cooked bacon to the oil. (Crispy bacon cuts into finer pieces than bendy bacon.) Add any spices and/or seasonings you’d like. Turn on your bladed machine of choice, and pulse until the bacon has broken down into very fine pieces, and the spices are completely mixed in. Scrape down the walls and blend again if you need to. Spiced bacon dip is excellent with fries, but even better when it seeps into the crevices of tater tots, or drizzled over a cracked-open baked potato.
For a thick sauce, consider a base of mayonnaise, sour cream, greek yogurt, or ketchup. Scoop the amount you want into a small bowl, and set aside. Place a few strips of well-cooked bacon into a small food processor, and run it until the bacon has been broken up into tiny pieces. If the meat starts to get pasty because of the fat, it can help to add something dry that you’ll use in the finished sauce, like dried spices, herbs, or even a teaspoon of sugar. Those ingredients will cling to and absorb the fats to keep the mixture loose. Once the bacon is sufficiently pulverized, dump it into the base dip that you have set aside. Mix it together with a spoon until combined. This clingy dip is wonderful with baked potatoes, but especially great with shoestring fries, steak fries, waffle fries. Really all of the fries.
Spiced Bacon Dip
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil (For a thick dip, substitute mayonnaise, and follow the instructions in the second paragraph below.)
- 2 strips bacon, cooked crisp
- ¾ teaspoon za’atar
- ¼ teaspoon cumin powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cayenne powder
Place all of the ingredients into a cup that fits an immersion blender, or into a standard blender. Pulse the ingredients until the bacon has been reduced to fine bits. Drizzle over a plate of potatoes or serve on the side as a dipping sauce.
For a mayonnaise base, set aside the mayonnaise in a small bowl. Pulse the remaining ingredients in a food processor until the bacon is finely chopped. Stir the pulverized bacon mixture into the mayonnaise.