The Perfect BLT
We’re so excited to introduce a new newsletter series, in which we break down our favorite dishes, giving you a roadmap to delicious, easy recipes you’ll want to make again and again. First up, an American classic: the BLT.
At its best, a BLT balances acidity, texture, size, and flavor; while it might be easy to dismiss a sandwich so straightforward its name is an acronym of its ingredients, our tips will elevate your BLT to new heights.
(makes 1 sandwich)
BLT-worthy bacon needs to be thin and *shatteringly crisp* which means starting it out in a cold pan on medium heat (this will allow the fat to render without smoking up the whole house). Turn once, and remove when just shy of perfectly golden brown, placing it on a paper towel to absorb any extra fat. As the fat cools, it will continue crisp up while it rests.
The ‘L’ in a BLT adds crunch and freshness while protecting the bread from absorbing too many of the tomato juices and going soggy; Iceberg or Romaine are the only ones up to the task. Since lettuce should always be thoroughly washed, I make a point of picking the leaves first, then washing them in cold water to ensure I’m really rinsing them out.
Although heirloom tomatoes are a fantastic summer option, with a little TLC, any winter hot house tomato will do the trick on a BLT. As the bacon cooks, slice your tomatoes ½-inch thick. Mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil and red wine vinegar into a bowl and add your tomatoes, topping them with a little salt and pepper, then setting them aside while you prep the other ingredients. The vinegar will draw out the tomatoes’ natural sweetness, the olive oil will help flavor and mask any mealiness, and a little of that leftover marinade will flavor the bread, just like those juicy heirlooms do in the summer.
After you’ve flipped the bacon, lightly toast your bread. Although many are partial to using white bread, an artisanal loaf like sourdough adds flavor, is easier on the digestive system, and brings much needed structure to the sandwich. If, like me, you’ve long exhausted the rations of quarantine sourdough your partner baked, look to your favorite bakery!
Now, for the trimmings. While I’m very partial to classic Hellman’s mayo for sandwiches, a light spread of mustard (the blasphemy!) plays off the tomatoes beautifully and brightens the whole sandwich with a bit of complexity.
From bottom to top: bread, mayo, lettuce, bacon, tomato, mustard, bread.
Spoon a little bit of the tomato-vinegar-oil juice onto one slice of bread then spread a thick layer of mayo over it; top with lettuce leaves, bacon, tomatoes; then spread a thin layer of mustard on the other slice and close the sandwich.