Cut into slices, of the same length and thickness, some bacon of the finest quality; trim away the outsides, place the slices evenly upon each other, and with a sharp knife divide them obliquely into small strips of equal size. For pheasants, partridges, hares, fowls, and fri-candeanx, the bacon should be about the eighth of an inch square, and two inches in length; but for meat which is to be larded quite through, instead of on the outside merely, the bits of bacon (properly called lar-Joons) must be at least the third of an inch square.
In general, the breasts only of birds are larded, the backs and thighs of rabbits, and the whole of the upper surface of a fricandeau: these should be thickly covered with small lardoons, placed at regular intervals, and in lines which intersect each other, so as to form rather minute diamonds.
The following directions for larding a partridge will serve equally for poultry, or for other kinds of game:-
Secure one end of the bacon in a slight larding-pin, and on the point of this take up sufficient of the flesh of the bird to hold the lardoon firmly; draw the pin through it, and part of the bacon, of which the two ends should be left of equal length. Proceed thus, until the breast of the pheasant is entirely garnished with lardoons, when it ought to resemble in appearance a cake thickly stuck with slips of almonds.
The larger strips of bacon, after being rolled in a high seasoning of minced herbs and spices, are used to lard the inside of meat, and they should be proportioned to its thickness, as they must be passed quite through it. For example: a four inch slice from a rump of beef will require lardoons of very nearly that length, which must be drawn through with a large larding-pin, and left in it, with the ends just out of sight on either side.
In France, truffles, anchovies, slices of tongue, and of fat, all trimmed into proper shape, are occasionally used for larding. The bacon employed there for the purpose is cured without any saltpetre (as this would redden the white meats), and it is never smoked: the receipt for it will be found in Chapter XI (Pork. How To Choose Pork).
A turkey is sometimes larded with alternate lardoons of fat bacon and of bullock's tongue, which has been pickled but not dried: we apprehend that the lean of a half-boiled ham, of good colour, could answer the purpose quite as well, or better.
Larding the surface of meat, poultry, or game, gives it a good appearance, but it is a more positive improvement to meat of a dry nature to interlard the inside with large lardoons of well-seasoned, delicate, striped bacon.
Very minute directions being given in other parts of our volume for this, we confine ourselves here to the following rules:- in disengaging the flesh from it, work the knife always close to the bone, and take every care not to pierce the outer skin.