Sunday Brunch | Caramelized Onion and Bacon Tart and more
by DENNIS KEMPTON
We’re obviously not going for the health food angle this weekend with our brunch selection. But, it’s bacon. Bacon! The average American consumes 18 pounds of bacon a year. You’d think the south would be the largest market for bacon, right? Wrong. It’s New York City, followed by Los Angeles. And for you prospective parents out there, choline, a micronutrient found in bacon, could actually boost the intelligence of an unborn child, according to scientists at the University of North Carolina. That alone makes it worth it, right? But, then again, who needs a scientific reason. It’s bacon.
4 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 small onions, cut in half lengthwise and thickly sliced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 egg yolk
freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 (8-inch) frozen pie or tart shell
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cook the bacon in a medium frying pan over medium high heat until fat is mostly rendered and the bacon is crisp around the edges. Transfer to paper towels to drain, and set aside, leaving 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat in the pan. Crumble the bacon after it cools.
Add the onions to the pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown, about 8 minutes. Turn the heat to medium-low and add 1 tablespoon of thyme and a pinch of salt. Continue to cook until the onions are soft and deep golden brown, about 20 minutes more.
Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, egg yolk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pinch of pepper, 1 teaspoon thyme and 1/4 cup Parmigiano in a small bowl. Stir well to combine. Spread the ricotta mixture evenly on the bottom of the tart shell. Arrange onions on top of the ricotta and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmigiano. Sprinkle bacon over the top. Transfer to the oven and bake until the edges of the filling are golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Serves 6-8, but I’d make two of them. This looks delicious. Calories? Don’t even ask.
Hey, wait. You’ve got 18 pounds of bacon to eat this year and it’s almost January. We might as well give you this one, too.
BACON and EGG MUFFINS
Cornbread meets the bacon-and-egg sandwich in these quick and easy breakfast muffins that feature crispy bacon and melty cheddar. Serve them warm and drizzled with sweet maple syrup for a delectable brunch dish.
4 slices of bacon, cut in thirds
salt and ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil or butter, melted
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
maple or cane sugar (optional) but why not?
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large skillet cook bacon just until it begins to crisp. Drain and reserve drippings. Return 2 tsp. drippings to skillet. For scrambled eggs, in a small bowl beat 3 of the eggs, 2 Tbsp. water, and a dash each of salt and pepper. Cook eggs in hot skillet over medium heat without stirring until eggs begin to set on bottom and around edges. With a large spatula, lift and fold for uncooked portion to flow underneath. Cook until set yet still moist. Transfer to bowl; set aside.
Brush twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with some of the remaining bacon drippings. Set muffin cups aside. In a medium bowl stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and 1/2 tsp. salt. In a separate bowl combine milk, oil, and remaining 2 eggs; stir into flour mixture. Fold in scrambled eggs and cheese. Spoon into muffin cups (cups will be full).
Place one bacon piece on each muffin. Bake 15 to 17 minutes, until light brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. To loosen muffins from pan, run a small metal spatula or table knife around edges of muffins; remove from pans. Serve warm with maple syrup. Serves 12. Prep time is 30 minutes.
You know what? I’ve heard that bacon goes well with chocolate. So, while you’re eating your bacon tart or bacon and egg muffins (or both) why not throw in these tasty chocolate-banana doughnuts, too? I mean, you’re already eating bacon, so what’s the matter?
CHOCOLATE BANANA DOUGHNUTS
5 1/2-6 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 packages active dry yeast
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3 medium bananas, mashed (1 cup)
2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
vegetable oil for deep fat frying (sorry!)
1 recipe for glaze (below)
In bowl combine 1-1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, yeast, and 1 tsp. salt; set aside. In saucepan combine milk and butter. Heat until warm (125 degrees F). Add to flour mixture. Add bananas, eggs, and yolks. With mixer, beat on medium 2 minutes. Stir in 3-1/2 cups flour, adding additional flour 1/4 cup at a time. (Dough will be sticky.) Transfer to a buttered bowl; turn to coat surface. Cover; let rise 1 hour or until doubled.
On floured surface roll dough to 3/8-inch thickness. Cut with floured 2-1/2-inch doughnut cutter. Reroll dough and repeat. Place cutouts on baking sheet. Cover; let rise 30 minutes or until doubled.
Fry a few at a time in hot oil (365 degrees F) for 2 minutes or until golden; turning once. Remove with slotted spoon; drain. Dip in glaze. Makes 30 doughnuts plus holes.
GLAZE (oh, dear!)
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons light-color corn syrup
In microwave-safe bowl combine semi- sweet chocolate pieces, whipping cream, and butter. Microwave 1 minute; stir. Microwave 30 seconds more. Whisk in powdered sugar until smooth and light-color corn syrup.
I think I’ve done enough damage here. I’m done. Have a great Sunday!
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