One of the businesses appearing at The Pitch's Bacon & Bourbon Festival on Thursday is Our Sassy Pantry, which offers among its jams a savory concoction starring bacon. I was trying to figure out how best to deploy it when inspiration struck: Farm to Market dropped off a loaf of its limited-edition banana-nut bread.
The bread is available in select supermarkets through April 20. That's Easter Sunday - and Easter is the reason for this particular batch.
"We've been offering limited runs of sweet breads for the past 10 years," says Farm to Market vice president John Friend. "We do the chocolate-cherry bread around Valentine's Day and Irish soda bread for St. Patrick's Day. We wanted to do something special for Easter and kicked around the idea of hot cross buns, but my father has a great recipe for banana-nut bread, so we're using that."
Mark Friend's recipe yields a very moist bread, almost cakelike in texture. It uses fresh mashed banana, sugar, butter, walnuts, sea salt, and a dash of nutmeg. It's good toasted (under the oven broiler works best - the bread is somewhat crumbly) and spread with butter, and it goes well with coffee.
Or you can give it a kick and add bacon for a tasty BCJ sandwich. That's right: Bacon, Cheese and Jam.
I cut a loaf into quarters, slicing sandwich-width portions from that, and spread the pieces with Our Sassy Pantry's bacon jam, a satiny combination of bacon, onion, garlic, brown sugar, maple syrup, cider vinegar and chili flakes. Between the bread: Applewood Smoked Bacon from Burgers' Smokehouse in California, Missouri (purchased from the Broadway Butcher Shop, 3828 Broadway) and a thick slice of nutty Pleasant Prairie cow's-milk cheese from Skyview Farm and Creamery in Pleasanton, Kansas.
Now, I don't want to brag, but The Pitch staffer who tried my sandwich gave it a good review.
"I can't lie," he began. "I approached this sandwich with trepidation. I don't like nuts in my bread. I like my bacon alone, unadulterated. And yet, the flavors in this sandwich came together unexpectedly well. None overpowered another, and while sweet and salty can often combine for an odious result, this sandwich blended it together nicely."
All he needed was some bourbon.