Hye Thyme Cafe: BLT Cups / Spears

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

BLT Cups / Spears

BLT Lettuce Cups / Wraps : Hye Thyme Cafe

I was going to refer to these as BLT Wraps but didn't want people to think it was a sandwich wrap. I was in the mood for lettuce wraps but couldn't decide what I wanted to fill them with until, wandering in the produce department, I saw a container of mixed small tomatoes, and BLTs immediately came to mind.

I won't bother including amounts with the ingredients because it's really up to you - how much mayo you like in your salads, how many servings you're preparing, etc. I will say that I decided to add a little black pepper and dried cilantro to my mayo. Basil might be nice as well.

As far as the bacon goes, you can prepare it however you like - fried, baked, nuked. I like to bake mine - sometimes on a rack, sometimes right on a foil-lined pan. The temperature can vary; higher if you're in a rush, lower if not. Letting it sit out for a few minutes and baking it at a lower temp keeps it from curling. That's not really a concern here since you'll be crumbling or dicing it anyhow.

When it comes to the lettuce, I used both iceberg and romaine, so I had cups and spears. Boston bibb is prettier, but it costs more and doesn't stretch as far.

Also, although these are lettuce wraps, you don't have to skip the toast altogether.  Toast up some crumbs - fresh, dry, or panko (I used chipotle panko) to sprinkle on top!

Lettuce - any variety
Tomatoes - a variety of colors is nice
Cooked bacon - chopped or crumbled
Bread Crumbs - fresh, dried, or panko
Optional - herbs to blend into the mayo

If you are baking your bacon, you will want to start with that so everything else is done when it comes out. Otherwise, start with the lettuce, so that can sit out to dry while you work on your other ingredients. If using a head of iceberg, either before or after opening the package, bang the lettuce on the counter, stem-side down. That will push the stem in, breaking it away from the leaves, and you can easily pull it out like a cork.

Bang stem of lettuce on counter to separate from leaves.
Stem pops out like a cork.

Now roll the lettuce onto one side and take a slice off the bottom so it will open up easier. To separate the leaves, run the lettuce under water. That way, the water will open up the space between each layer so you don't tear the lettuce while trying to pull them apart. Transfer to paper towels or a clean dish towel to dry.

Take a slice off the bottom to gain better access to the leaves.
Separate the leaves under running water to prevent tearing.

Dice and/or slice your tomatoes and set on a paper towel to soak up the excess liquid, blotting the top with another towel.

Any tomatoes are fine, but I like a variety of colors.
Slice or dice the tomatoes and let paper towels soak up the liquid.

If seasoning your mayonnaise with any herbs or spices, go ahead and do that, then stir in the tomatoes and set aside.

Stir the tomatoes into the mayo mixture.If desired, season your mayo with herbs/spices.  I used black pepper and cilantro.

For the topping, just melt a pat of butter in a small pan over medium heat and throw in a handful of breadcrumbs, stirring often until toasted. Immediately pour out onto your cutting board or a paper plate so the residual pan heat doesn't burn them.

I toasted some chipotle panko crumbs in a small pat of butter - remove immediately from pan to avoid burning.Toast some bread crumbs to replace the toast for a bit of crunch.

When your bacon is done, transfer to paper towels if necessary to soak up any grease, then let cool for a few minutes and crumble or chop into pieces. Stir the bacon into the tomato mixture. If you want, reserve some of the crumbled bacon to sprinkle over the top with the bread crumbs.

Crumble or chop bacon and stir into tomato mixture.Prepare bacon as desired: fried, baked, nuked...

Arrange your lettuce cups on a platter and spoon in the tomato mixture. Sprinkle bread crumbs and any remaining bacon crumbles over the top for garnish.

Spoon tomato mixture into lettuce and sprinkle with toasted crumbs.

BLT Lettuce Cups / Wraps : Hye Thyme Cafe

BLT Lettuce Cups / Wraps : Hye Thyme Cafe

BLT Lettuce Cups / Wraps : Hye Thyme Cafe

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