The savory BLT was probably the most work, but mostly work at home, preparing the components, two of which took several hours to make. The first time I made this, I made it in sandwich form, but it was just a big mess - it works much better in hors d'oeuvres form.
(yield 20 pieces)
- 20 slices of baguette, each about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick
- 20-40 roasted tomato halves, depending on size (see roasted tomato recipe below)
- 2 cups bacon jam (see recipe below)
- 20 basil leaves
These hors d'oeuvres are all about construction. Lay the 20 slices of bread out on a platter. If the bacon jam has been in the refrigerator, warm it up just a bit in a saucepan on the stove, stirring continuously - it'll only take a couple of minutes. You'll also want to pull the tomatoes out of the refrigerator early enough that they come to room temperature.
Just before you're ready to serve, chiffonade the basil. To construct the hors d'oeuvres, place one or two roasted tomatoes on the bread (depending on the size of the tomato) and top with 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of bacon jam. Sprinkle with a few pieces of basil and serve.
It's simple, but really, the work comes in making the ingredients...
(yield: 40 tomato halves)
- 20 Roma tomatoes
- 3-4 tbls olive oil
- Kosher salt (2-3 pinches)
- Coriander (2-3 pinches)
This recipe is very similar - if not exactly the same as - Molly Wizenberg's roasted tomato recipe in A Homemade Life. It's very easy - you simply cut each tomato in half, long-ways, toss with the olive oil, set them cut-side up on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the salt and coriander. Then roast in a 250 degree oven for 3 or 4 hours - it usually takes me three hours.
The tomatoes store for a while in the fridge and in addition to working well in these hors d'oeuvres, they are a great addition to a fresh tomato sauce - they add some depth of flavor.
(yield: about 3/4 of a quart)
- 4 lbs. bacon (as usual, I used Niman Ranch applewood smoked bacon from Trader Joe's)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 7 cloves garlic, chopped into small pieces
- Bourbon (I used Maker's Mark)
- Hot Mexican chili powder
- Cayenne pepper
- Apple cider vinegar
- Jamaican allspice
- Light brown sugar
Here's the deal with the bacon jam...I made it up as I went along and while I wrote down the ingredients, I didn't write down many quantities. But that's OK, because it's the kind of dish that's all about experimentation and regular tasting anyway. Just see what you like.
I started out by cooking 4 pounds of bacon - yes, that's a lot - and setting it aside as I went. Once I was finished, I poured just about 2 tablespoons of bacon grease into a small stockpot, which I placed over medium heat. Next, I added the onion and garlic and cooked it just until it was fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Here's where the approximation comes in: at this point, I deglazed the pan with a big splash of bourbon and let it cook down so the alcohol burned off and it reduced at least half way. Then I added the bacon, cutting it into small pieces (about 1 inch each) as I put it in the pan, and I gave everything a good stir.
Then I started adding the spices - all of them - along with a hefty amount of apple cider vinegar (probably a cup) and a little more bourbon. I stirred everything together, turned the heat down to low, and let the whole mess simmer for about 2 or 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
While it was cooking, I added more apple cider vinegar and more bourbon, and about an hour in, I added the brown sugar (about half a cup). The final result was a little gooey, but each small piece of bacon was distinct (it had broken down into little balls). Most importantly, the flavor was rich and had many layers.
You can store it in the refrigerator for quite a while, too.
So there it is - two fairly time-consuming recipes that add up to one really nicely savory appetizer.