At least 15 years ago I attended a cooking class taught by Michele Braden, and bought one of her cookbooks at the class, Fast & Fabulous HorsD’Oeuvres (the book is out of print, unfortunately). I have no recollection as to what items she demonstrated for the class, but I remember being very pleased with the wide variety of recipe ideas in the cookbook. I’ve made a number of things from the book in the ensuing years, but this one I’ve prepared umpteen times.
What’s unique about the cookbook is that each recipe offers three options. First, there’s a Fast one. Then she gives you a Flashy method, and lastly, a Fabulous presentation. At the time, I suppose, it was her little corner, or niche to make her cookbook different. From what I read now, anyone not amongst published authors who wants to submit a cookbook for possible publication must have something very creative and unusual, otherwise it will never get past the first editor.
So back to the Dunk. Wonder why this little number is called a Dunk? Once Braden began cooking as a young adult, she definitely didn’t like the word “dip.” It conjured up the ubiquitous onion dip or clam dip etc. So, she decided to elevate the genre of appetizer to a new level, and calls it a Dunk. Whatever it is, dip or dunk, this particular one will make you think you’re having a part of the BLT. Just no lettuce, and you either dip/dunk a cracker into the mixture, or spread it on toast, or even celery. It’s the BACON, however, that makes this. The original recipe calls for 5 slices of bacon (to make about 1 1/2 cups of dunk). If you’re using thick-sliced, obviously reduce the amount. And I’ve found that I can use considerably less bacon and still get the flavor. If you hand chop the bacon, every bite will have a bit of bacon in it, so don’t leave the bacon in larger pieces. And whatever you do, don’t just whiz up everything in the blender or food processor and think it will work. It doesn’t. You lose all the texture and it becomes a very loose liquid. Not pleasant. Trust me on this, okay? Sometimes I just make it by hand rather than mess up the blender.In the case of this recipe, Braden’s recommendation for FAST was to prepare up to 4 days in advance and refrigerate. The FLASHY preparation includes using pita chips, crackers and garnishing with minced green onions, parsley, more chopped tomatoes and bacon. For the FABULOUS method, add avocado, stuff it into raw mushrooms or cold hollowed-out potatoes. Normally I just use pita chips from Trader Joe’s, or the little bite-sized toasts, although I usually do garnish the top with some minced tomatoes and a little bit of extra bacon.
As noted in the recipe, I have made this with low-fat mayo, but it just doesn’t taste all that good. If you’re going to splurge and have a little bit of bacon – go for the gold and use Best Foods mayo. Enjoy.
Bacon & Tomato Dunk
Recipe: Michele Braden, Fast & Fabulous Hors D’Oeurves, 1992
Serving Ideas: I have made this with low-fat mayo. I’d be lying if I said it’s “just as good.” It isn’t, but if you crave a BLT, it will satisfy. Serve with baked pita chips, crackers, or baguette slices, toasted. You may garnish the dunk with minced onions, parsley, additional minced tomatoes or crumbled bacon.
NOTES: This dip/dunk is sinfully delicious. If you are using thick sliced bacon, use about half the number of slices. Don’t overblend or it loses its appeal, and if you have any leftovers, it’s delicious on leftover pasta or rice, or even as a salad dressing.
5 slices bacon
2 medium ripe tomatoes
1/2 cup mayonnaise — Best Foods brand or homemade
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons green onions — coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons parsley
1. Cook bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels and cool. Chop into very small pieces and set aside.
2. Combine in a food processor the green onions and parsley and process until it’s a fine mince. Scrape out into a medium bowl.
3. Cut tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds as much as possible. Process the tomatoes in the food processor until they are minced, but not pureed. Pour out into the same bowl and add the mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. Add the bacon and stir it into the mixture, then cover, and refrigerate for up to 4 days. It’s best if allowed to chill for at least 8 hours.
Per Serving: 172 Calories; 18g Fat (90.2% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 11mg Cholesterol; 209mg Sodium.