What are Rashers?

Rashers are a popular food item commonly found in breakfast menus around the world. They are thin slices of bacon that are typically fried or grilled until crispy. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the origin of rashers, their various types, how to cook them, and creative recipes that incorporate this delicious ingredient. So, whether you’re a bacon aficionado or simply curious about this breakfast staple, read on to discover everything you need to know about rashers.

Origin and History of Rashers:

Bacon, from which rashers are derived, has a long and storied history dating back centuries. The word “bacon” originates from the Old High German word “bakko,” which means “back meat.

” This refers to the fact that bacon is primarily obtained from the back of a pig.

The concept of curing and preserving pork, the main ingredient in bacon, can be traced back to ancient times. The ancient Romans were known for their love of salted pork, and methods of preserving meat were developed and refined throughout Europe. The process of curing bacon involves treating the meat with salt, either through dry curing or brining, which helps to preserve it and enhance its flavor.

As for rashers specifically, the term is commonly used in the United Kingdom and Ireland to refer to thin slices of bacon. This term is believed to have originated from the Anglo-Norman word “raschoure,” which means “slice” or “portion.

” While bacon is typically associated with the American breakfast tradition, rashers have their own unique place in British and Irish cuisine.

Types of Rashers:

Rashers come in various types, each with its own distinct flavor profile and texture. The most commonly available rashers are made from pork, but alternative varieties made from turkey or other meats can also be found. Here are some of the most popular types of rashers:

1. Back Bacon:
Back bacon, also known as Canadian bacon, is a type of rasher that is made from pork loin. It is leaner than traditional streaky bacon, as it is taken from the back of the pig rather than its belly. Back bacon has a round shape and usually includes a small portion of the pork belly, providing a balance of lean meat and marbled fat.

2. Streaky Bacon:
Streaky bacon is perhaps the most well-known type of bacon. It is made from pork belly, which is known for its rich flavor and higher fat content. The fat in streaky bacon gives it a crispy texture and a delicious, smoky taste when cooked. Streaky bacon is commonly used in various dishes and is a favorite choice for breakfast.

3. Turkey Rashers:
For those seeking a leaner alternative to pork rashers, turkey rashers are an excellent choice. As the name suggests, these rashers are made from turkey meat and are lower in fat and calories compared to traditional bacon. Turkey rashers offer a similar texture and smoky taste to pork rashers, making them a popular option for individuals looking to reduce their saturated fat intake.

Cooking Rashers:

Cooking rashers is a straightforward process that can be done in a variety of ways, depending on personal preference and desired crispiness. Here are a few popular methods:

1. Frying:
To fry rashers, heat a pan over medium heat and add a small amount of oil if desired. Place the rashers in the pan, ensuring they do not overlap, and cook for about 3-4 minutes per side until they reach your preferred level of crispiness. Once cooked, transfer the rashers to a paper towel-lined plate to remove excess grease.

2. Grilling:
Grilling rashers is a popular option that can be done on an outdoor grill or in a grill pan. Preheat the grill or grill pan to medium-high heat, and then cook the rashers for approximately 2-3 minutes per side. Grilling rashers adds a smoky flavor and allows the excess fat to drip away, resulting in a slightly healthier option.

3. Baking:
Baking rashers in the oven is a convenient method that requires minimal effort. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Place the rashers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, ensuring they are not overlapping. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until they are crispy and golden brown. Baking rashers allows for even cooking and produces a less greasy result.

Creative Recipes with Rashers:

Rashers are not limited to being a breakfast item or an accompaniment to your eggs. They can be incorporated into a wide range of dishes, adding a savory, smoky flavor. Here are a few creative recipes that showcase the versatility of rashers:

1. Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus Bundles:
An elegant appetizer or side dish, bacon-wrapped asparagus bundles are quick to make and bursting with flavor. Simply wrap a few stalks of asparagus with thin rashers, secure with a toothpick, and roast in the oven until the bacon is crispy and the asparagus is tender.

2. Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Breast:
Enhance the taste of a classic chicken breast wrapping it in rashers. The bacon adds moisture and flavor to the chicken, resulting in a succulent and tasty dish. Season the chicken breast, wrap it with rashers, and bake in the oven until the bacon is crispy and the chicken is cooked through.

3. Bacon and Egg Pie:
A hearty and comforting dish, bacon and egg pie combines the richness of rashers with the creaminess of eggs. Line a pie dish with store-bought pastry, fill it with cooked rashers and beaten eggs, and bake until golden and set. This dish can be enjoyed both warm and cold, making it an ideal option for picnics or a quick meal on-the-go.

4. Bacon and Avocado Salad:
For a lighter option, a bacon and avocado salad offers a refreshing combination of flavors. Combine crispy rashers, diced avocado, mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and a tangy vinaigrette dressing. Toss everything together for a nutritious and satisfying salad that showcases the versatility of rashers in different dishes.

Rashers are thin slices of bacon that are widely enjoyed as a breakfast staple and a versatile ingredient in various recipes. Originating from the curing and preserving techniques developed throughout history, rashers have become an integral part of British and Irish cuisine. Whether you prefer back bacon, streaky bacon, or leaner alternatives like turkey rashers, cooking rashers can be done through frying, grilling, or baking. Additionally, rashers can be used creatively in dishes such as bacon-wrapped asparagus bundles, bacon-wrapped chicken breast, bacon and egg pie, and bacon and avocado salad. So, explore the world of rashers and savor the unique flavors they bring to your plate.