Lardons (LAHR-don)

What it means

"Lardon" may not be a familiar term, but there are very few Americans who don't know what it means: Lardon is just bacon by another name.

OK, it's not exactly the same as the strips in your grocer's breakfast meat cooler. Lardons are chunks or cubes of pork belly (or, sometimes, fatback), which has been cured, but not smoked. French cooks originally used the fatty bits to add flavor to lean cuts before roasting and braising: They would insert the lardons directly into the meat, essentially basting from the inside-out. But lardons eventually became a stand-alone dish, since they fry up tasty and crisp. Lardons are an integral component of the classic salad frisee with poached eggs, but they're also used to enrich coq au vin and fatten up vegetable dishes, such as sauteed Brussels sprouts.

Where we saw it

High Cotton, (Blue Hill Bay Mussel and Local Clam Chowder with lardons and chive, $14)

Where else you can try it

Lardons are a classy way for chefs to put bacon on the menu. Right now, The Granary is serving a kale Caesar with lardons, Oak Steakhouse is using lardons for its wedge salad riff and Blossom is adding lardons to its scallops and grits. The spate of recent French restaurant openings, including Annie's Bistro and Chez Nous, bodes well for even more local lardons.

Where to buy it

If you're shopping for lardons, Ted's Butcherblock is a good starting point.