Monday, August 4, 2014

BLT (Bacon Lettuce Tomato) Muffins #MuffinMonday #BaconMonth

Baby gem lettuce, quick fried in bacon fat, is a treat all on its own. Added to muffin batter with crispy bacon and sun-dried tomatoes, it makes a fabulous baked BLT that is handy for breakfast or snack time on the go. 

Welcome to the start of the Bacon Month giveaways! This week we have the fabulous cookbook Bacon Nation* up for grabs so make sure to scroll to the bottom of this post and enter the Rafflecopter for your chance to win it! Many thanks to Julie from White Lights on Wednesday for organizing Bacon Month and sponsoring the giveaways!

I pride myself on being an adventurous eater. That said, the first time I encountered cooked lettuce was in the kitchen of a Dutch friend who was making lettuce soup. The sound of it didn’t appeal to me at all so I was pleasantly surprised by how tasty it was. Since then I have enjoyed peas simmered with lettuce and butter the French way, grilled Romaine in salads and wilted lettuce cooked in bacon fat, in the Southern tradition. It wasn’t something I remember either of my grandmothers making but that doesn’t stop me from adopting it now. For this week’s Muffin Monday and the start of Bacon Month, a BLT muffin with baby gem lettuce seared in bacon fat seemed like the obvious choice! I used my easy to make homemade sun-dried tomatoes but store bought would work just as nicely.

Ingredients
4 1/2+ oz or 130g streaky smoked bacon (I used two thick cut slices and two normal slices because that’s what I had on hand.)
3/4 oz or 20g sun-dried tomatoes
3 small baby gem lettuces – about 7oz or 200g in total
2 cups or 250g flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon English mustard powder
Black pepper
1/4 cup or 60ml bacon fat and/or canola or other vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup or 240ml milk

Method
Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water and set aside to plump.



Fry the bacon until crispy and pour the fat into a 1/4 cup or 60ml measuring cup. Top up, if necessary to the full amount with oil.  Set aside. Do not wash the residual grease out of the pan! We are going to fry the lettuce in it. Drain the bacon on some paper towels.



Trim the brown end off of your baby gem lettuces, being careful to leave enough of the cores so they don’t fall apart. Now cut them each into halves.



Heat the bacon pan until quite hot and lay the baby gems in it, cut side down. Fry just a few minutes until browned and then turn them over carefully.

Brown the other side. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.



Cut the cores out of the lettuces and chop the leaves. I ended up with about 1 cupful of lettuce.


Drain the tomatoes and chop them into smaller bits, reserving 12 bigger pieces to garnish the muffins, if desired. Chop the crispy bacon finely, once again reserving 12 bigger pieces to garnish the muffins, if desired.





Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your 12-cup muffin pan by lining it with paper muffin cups or by greasing it thoroughly.

In a large mixing bowl, combine your flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and mustard powder plus a few good grinds of fresh black pepper. My grinder actually has a mix of peppercorns, if you are wondering about the pink and green flecks.



In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and room temperature bacon fat/oil.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredient bowl and mix slightly.



Add in the chopped bacon, chopped lettuce and chopped tomatoes. Fold gently to combine.



Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups. Top with reserved bacon and tomato, if you kept some aside.



Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool slightly in the pan. Transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.


Enjoy!





Other Bacon Month participants and their recipes today include




I’ll be adding more links as they go live today, so please check back! 

Be sure to follow Bacon Month with the #baconmonth and #putsomepiginit hashtags, and get even more bacon recipes by following Julie's board I Heart | Bacon! on Pinterest.



Now for the Bacon Nation* giveaway! Please be aware that the book will only be shipped to US addresses. Canadian winners will receive an Amazon gift card for the price of the book. Full disclosure details can be found by clicking on Terms and Conditions on the Rafflecopter.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



*This is an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy after clicking on the link, I earn some small change for referring you to Amazon, at no extra cost to you.

#PutSomePigInIt

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