Bacon makes everything better. I’m certainly not the first to say it, but that salty, smoky, meat strip is hard to resist. It seems, however, that bacon has met its match. The banana, and its cousins, make everything better too. Luckily for us, they’re not enemies. In fact, when combined, they make the best snack I’ve had all week. Air fried bacon-wrapped banana bites contain a symphony of complementary flavours, and I would absolutely serve them at any party.
I have a bizarre mind for flavour combinations, but before this, I never would have taken banana and bacon seriously as a couple, until I was at a wedding in Brazil and tasted a small cup of sweet plantain purée with shredded, dried meat. It may have been beef. It may have been pork. I may have had several caipirinhas. I helped myself to three (hors d’oeuvre-sized portions), because everyone else was sleeping on this amazing concoction. On paper, I was confused by the pairing, but to my tastebuds, nothing could be more clear. The little bite was a whirlwind of sweet, earthy, creamy fruit purée with chewy, salty, smoky meat ribbons.
All of those bold flavours and contrasting textures come through in these bacon banana bites. They may not be as elegant as a purée, but they make up for it with speed, and simplicity. The only thing you have to do is roll a banana in bacon. An air fryer makes quick work of these, but if you don’t have one, you can use a conventional oven.
Preheat the air fryer or oven, and peel your bananas. I cut the banana into segments to match the width of my bacon strips, and got five banana chunks per fruit. Each segment used a half-slice of bacon, but this may vary slightly, depending on the size of either ingredient. You want a little overlap after the bacon encircles the banana. You can use a toothpick to skewer through the overlapping strip to keep it from unravelling while it cooks, but I made one without a toothpick, and set it seam-side down, and it did not unravel. (Go toothpick-less at your own risk.)
Place the bacon-wrapped banana hunks in the air fryer, or on a foil-lined baking sheet if you’re using a conventional oven (set a wire rack inside the sheet if you want to avoid flipping the pieces). Cook according to the times listed below.
Allow to cool for at least five minutes, as the banana will be veritable magma straight out of the oven. You can add or remove a few minutes from the suggested bake time depending on how crispy you like your bacon. I enjoy plenty of crunch so I go for the full amount of time. The banana gets soft, creamy, and caramelised on the edges, and it develops a little snap of acidity from cooking. The bacon is everything you want it to be, salty, deeply smoky, chewy, and crunchy. Make these for a casual snack, a New Year’s Eve party, or even a wedding, if that’s the vibe. Did I go full Elvis at any point? Yes. These are also good with a smear of peanut butter.
Bacon Banana Bites
- 2 large bananas, cut into segments 1-inch to 1.5-inch wide
- 5 strips of bacon, cut in half widthwise
Set the air fryer to 160°C on the “air fry” setting. If using a conventional oven, line a baking sheet with a piece of foil and an optional wire rack, and preheat the oven to 200°C.
Wrap each segment of banana in a half-piece of bacon. Secure the bacon with a toothpick through the overlapping seam. If you don’t have toothpicks, place the bacon banana bite seam-side down on the rack or baking sheet. Air fry at 160°C for 10-15 minutes, or bake at 200°C in the conventional oven for 35-40 minutes, flipping halfway for both cooking methods.
Let the snacks cool on a rack, or piece of paper towel for five minutes before serving. Best if eaten immediately, but can be stored in the fridge and revived in a 160°C oven for 5-10 minutes.
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