Monday, September 29, 2014

[Gluten-Free] Mini BLTs

If you want to get people really excited about something you're serving, you know what you do?  You put bacon on it.  Everyone loves bacon.  Nowadays you can find bacon in everything from doughnuts to ice cream to Bloody Marys.  But I'm a simple girl.  Yes, I am what you would call a bacon purist.  I want bacon to taste like bacon.  And to me, nothing showcases bacon better than a carefully crafted BLT.

When was the last time you had a BLT?  For me, it had been years (that's like decades in bacon years).  Until one day, I saw bacon in the fridge and thought a BLT really sounded good.  But I didn't really want to make a whole sandwich.  I just wanted enough to taste that classic combination of salty bacon, juicy tomato, and crunchy lettuce.  Hmmm... a bite-size BLT.  Brilliant!

I tested them out on our friends Mike and Candice when they came over one night to have dinner with us on the beach.  Half-way through the appetizer, their adorable two-year-old daughter threw a big fist-full of sand directly towards the Mini BLTs.  We laughed and laughed... direct hit!  I thought, no big deal, we ate most of them.  Just as I was thinking that, Mike reaches to grab another one and says, "Man, these are really good."  That's the moment I knew this recipe was a winner.

Gluten-Free Mini BLTs
The classic combination of bacon, lettuce, and tomato has never tasted so good!  I make a creamy honey mustard sauce for the base, and instead of just lettuce, I make a quick shredded salad with fresh basil.  Oh, and of course each bite-size piece is topped with bacon!  

Makes 18-20 pieces

4 slices bacon
1 gluten-free baguette, cut in ¼-inch slices
1 cup finely chopped romaine lettuce
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium tomato
1½ tablespoons Vegenaise
1½ tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bacon- In a large sauté pan over medium heat, cook the bacon slices for 4 minutes on one side and 2 minutes on the other side.  Place cooked bacon on a plate with paper towels.  Once cooled, cut into 1-inch pieces.  Set aside.

Baguette- Place baguette slices on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes, or until toasted.  Set aside.

Lettuce- In a small bowl, mix together lettuce, basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Set aside. 

Tomato- Cut the tomato into thin slices and then cut each slice into quarters.  Set aside.

Sauce- In a small bowl, whisk together Vegenaise, honey, and Dijon mustard. 

To assemble, spread a ½ teaspoon of the mustard mixture on each toasted baguette slice.  Top with a tomato piece and then 1 teaspoon of the lettuce mixture.  Place a piece of bacon on top of each mini BLT.  Serve immediately with a cold beer.  Enjoy! 

Lauren Marie’s Tips:
*I love to use the hardwood smoked, uncured bacon from Applegate.  I think it has great flavor! 
*For gluten-free baguettes, I like the ones from Udi’s and Against the Grain.  You can find them both in the freezer section.

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