Brie Toasts with Bacon Plum Jam

Photo of Brie Toasts with Bacon Plum Jam on a white platter

The Evolution of the Crawdad Lunch
In our family, we have a phenomenon known as the Crawdad Lunch. Crawdad Lunch does not, in fact, include any crawfish. Crawdad Lunch was born on the shores of Lake Tahoe when my nephews and my kids refused to come back to the beach to eat a sandwich because they couldn’t tear themselves away from fishing for crawdads off the pier.

An authentic Crawdad Lunch consists of salami, crackers (usually Ritz or Wheat Thins), and some sort of sliced cheese. On a good day, some fruit would have also been consumed. But, you know how that goes.

The Crawdad Lunch has evolved over the years. But, each and every kid still eats it to this day—parents too. The Ritz crackers will make the occasional appearance. But, lately, all the components have become more sophisticated. Though let’s be real, a lot of what goes into making the perfect crawdad lunch depends on what you have on hand.

Salami is still a staple. But, prosciutto, Coppa, or even a lovely little country pate will work. The sliced cheese has graduated from your basic Colby Jack to some tangy Irish Dubliner, a nutty Toma, or a creamy Brie. Bonus points if you get the snack-sized Brie. Fresh mozzarella is also a great choice. Fruit or veggies are no longer optional. I like the crunch of grapes or apples, but cold cucumber slices or carrots can bring the same satisfaction.

Lately, I have been adding some spreads to my crawdad lunch. Sometimes a little fig jam and other times a little pepper relish, or, my favorite, some pimiento cheese. Essentially, Crawdad Lunch is your own personal charcuterie board. And, I love me a good charcuterie board. Crawdad Lunch is just how I justify not sharing….

This recipe for Brie Toasts with Bacon Plum Jam is easily adapted for a Crawdad Lunch. You can slice some brie and put it on a slice of toasted baguette or a cracker. Or, for the truly unapologetic cheese lover, just dollop a little bit of the jam on the brie bites and shove it all in your mouth…heaven!

Brie Toasts with Bacon Plum Jam Recipe
Adapted from Taste of Home
Yields about 30 toasts

1 pound bacon strips, chopped
1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
1 shallot, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup brewed coffee
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup pitted dried plums (prunes), coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon Sriracha chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper
30 slices Brie cheese (1/4 inch thick)
30 slices French bread baguette (1/4 inch thick), toasted

Prep the ingredients
Chop the bacon, thinly slice the onion, finely chop the shallot, mince the garlic, coarsely chop the dried plums, brew a cup of coffee, slice the brie, and slice the baguette.

Cook the bacon
In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until it is partially cooked but not crisp. Transfer the bacon to paper towels with a slotted spoon. Then drain the skillet, reserving 1 tablespoon for the drippings.

Cook the savory ingredients
Add the sliced onion and chopped shallot to bacon drippings and cook while stirring for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes longer.

Add the remaining ingredients
Stir in the coffee, water, vinegar, dried plums, brown sugar, maple syrup, chili sauce, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil.

Add the bacon back in
Stir in the bacon and reduce the heat to a simmer. Continue to simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is syrupy (about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours).

Allow to cool
Remove the jam from the heat and cool it to room temperature.

Process the jam
Transfer the mixture to a food processor. Pulse until the jam reaches the desired consistency.

Toast the baguette slices in the oven.

To serve
Place the cheese slices on the toasted baguette slices. Top each with 2 teaspoons of the Bacon Plum Jam.


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