A hostess at Red Cat in New York City made a joke about "bacon tempura" one night-and chef Bill McDaniel created it. He serves this wonderfully over-the-top dish with chipotle-lime aioli and, in season, a grilled corn salad-but its good enough just to eat by itself.
- 12 strips North Country Smokehouse thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon or other quality thick-cut bacon
- Canola oil
- 2 egg whites
- 1 1⁄2 cups flour
- 1 1⁄2 cups club soda
Separate strips of bacon, then lay half the slices in a large skillet in a single layer. Cook over medium heat, turning occasionally, until lightly browned but still pliable, about 10 minutes. Let bacon drain on paper towels. Repeat process with remaining bacon. (Save rendered bacon grease for another use, if you like.)
Pour oil into a heavy medium pot or a wok to a depth of 2" and heat over medium heat until temperature registers 375° on a candy thermometer.
Meanwhile, whisk egg whites in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold one-quarter of the flour, then one-quarter of the club soda, at a time into whites, folding thoroughly after each addition until batter is smooth.
Working in batches, dip bacon into batter, then deep-fry, turning once, until bacon is golden brown and crisp, about 6 minutes per batch. Drain on a wire rack. Season to taste with salt and serve immediately.