When very highly salted and dried, it should he soaked for an hour before it is dressed. Scrape and wash it well, cover it plentifully with cold water, let it both heat and boil slowly, remove all the scum with care, and when a fork or skewer will penetrate the bacon easily lift it out, strip off the skin, and strew raspings of bread over the top, or grate upon it a hard crust which has been toasted until it is crisp quite through; or should it be at hand, use for the purpose the bread recommended at page 114, then dry it a little before the fire, or set it for a few minutes into a gentle oven. Bacon requires long boiling, but the precise time depends upon its quality, the flesh of young porkers becoming tender much sooner than that of older ones; sometimes, too, the manner in which the animal has been fed renders the meat hard, and it will then, unless thoroughly cooked, prove very indigestible. From ten to fifteen minutes less for the pound must be allowed for unsmoked bacon, or for pickled pork.
Smoked bacon (striped), 2 lbs., from 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hour; unsmoked bacon, or pork, 1 to 1 1/4 hour.
The thickest part of a large gammon of bacon will require from twenty to thirty minutes longer boiling than the thinner side.
Cut it evenly in thin slices, or rashers, as they are generally called, pare from them all rind and rust, curl them round, fasten them with small slight skewers, then fry, broil, or toast them in a Dutch oven; draw out the skewers before they are sent to table A few minutes will dress them either way. They may also be cooked without being curled. The rind should always be taken off, and the bacon gently toasted, grilled, or fried, that it may be well done without being too much dried, or hardened : it should be cut thin. Fry what eggs you want in butter, and when dished lay an egg on each slice of ham, and serve.
Slice rather thicker than for frying, some cold boiled bacon, and strew it lightly on both sides with fine raspings of bread, or with a grated crust which has been very slowly and gradually toasted until brown quite through. Toast or warm the rashers in a Dutch oven, and Serve them with veal cutlets, or any other delicate meat. The bacon thus dressed is much nicer than when broiled or fried without the previous boiling.
4 to 5 minutes.