25 July 2010

Thoughts on BLTs

I was trying to decide what to post today, and I actually had a story lined up, but I couldn't get this sandwich out of my mind.


I was never a big BLT fan. Bacon, lettuce, tomato, between a couple of slices of bread: I just never saw the appeal. And then New York in May with Sandra happened.  Aside from an absolutely fabulous time with an absolutely fabulous friend, I must say that that B.L.A.T. at Friedman's Lunch totally marked me. Since I can't exactly just hop on over to have it right there every time I feel like it, I reverse engineered it and now make it at home.

Okay, let's not get carried away - it's not really that hard to reverse engineer a BLT-type sandwich!  You know what, though? I think some thought still needs to go into it. I guess it could just be slapped together, but a little bit of TLC in your BLT kicks it up a notch. Wow, where in the world did that come from? Anyway.


Here are a few of my thoughts on it:
1) The bread: country loaf or sourdough, sliced not-too-thickly, toasted until warm but still soft. If it's crunchy, the roof of your mouth is not going to thank you.

2) The tomato: the juicy, full-flavoured summer kind, sliced thickly - somewhere between a quarter of an inch to half an inch.

3) The lettuce: crisp and dry. Pat it dry if you need to.  Boston and butter lettuce both work well.

4) The avocado: fresh, ripe, sliced about as thickly as the tomato.

5) The bacon: preferably thick-sliced, and definitely not limp! I just cook mine in one layer in a skillet, turning only once (both sides golden) and then I pat the grease away with paper towels.

And (you thought I was done, didn't you?) ... drumroll, please ... 6) the mayonnaise: I think it's just got to be homemade. I mean, you could use the bottled kind, but homemade mayo is so easy to make, and it takes this sandwich to new heights. Trust me.  The sandwich that inspired me actually had herbed aïoli, so one of these days I might just pick some herbs from my balcony and use them when making the mayonnaise. For the sandwich pictured here, I added a clove of garlic to the mayo, but I didn't use any herbs.

Quantities?  Hm.  If it helps any, everything in the last picture above went into those 2 large slices of bread, and it made a huge sandwich, enough for two people to share (or for one very hungry person).

When your ingredients have been prepped and the bread has cooled a bit, construct. Spread some of your homemade mayonnaise on one slice of bread - don't skimp but don't slather it on, either. Lay out the sliced tomatoes over that slice of bread and sprinkle some salt over them. If you've got fleur de sel or sea salt, use that.  If you wish, this would be the time to add a few grinds of pepper. Arrange the bacon over that, and the avocado slices over that. Lettuce goes on top. A bit more mayo over the other slice of bread, which goes on top to close your sandwich. And you're done.

Well, not quite. Go somewhere where you won't be disturbed, dig in, and enjoy.  Don't forget to bring some napkins with you.

Homemade Mayonnaise

There are so many recipes for homemade mayonnaise out there, but when I make it at home I don't really follow one.  If I'm particularly inspired I make it by hand, but when pressed for time the fastest way is to use an immersion blender:  in that cylindrical container that usually comes with the blender (or a liquid measuring cup that can accommodate the blender), drop in a couple of egg yolks (insert warning about raw egg here), add about a tablespoon of lemon juice, sprinkle in a bit of salt, and start up the hand blender while s-l-o-w-l-y drizzling in about a cup to a cup and a half of olive oil.  Sometimes I add a small clove of garlic (crushed) or a bit of dijon mustard to the yolks, before I start the blender. When it has thickened (or should I say - "when an emulsion has formed"), taste and add about another tablespoon of lemon juice, plus more salt if needed, and fresh cracked pepper if you are feeling so inclined.

This is going to make more than what you will need for a couple of sandwiches.  You could halve it if you wish, or you can keep the leftover mayonnaise in the fridge and use it over the next couple of days.


  1. Ok so I have had a love affair with BLTs for decades and honestly grow tomatoes just so I can have them all summer. I also sprinkle red onions on mine. Love the avocado addition though! When the garden tomatoes are done, so is my BLT obsession. Thanks for posting as now I am craving one. I have some tomatoes I am saving for you...email me and let me know when you want them!

  2. I've never been into BLT's, until I encountered the "Spanglish sandwich." You know, the sandwich Adam Sandler was making in the middle of the night, when he get's interupted by the maid in the movie Spanglish. Essentially a BLT except, he adds a sunny side egg in it, cuts it in half, and splits it so the yolk slowly runs over. So good with a dark beer, such as a stout or porter. Also, known as the 'World's greatest sandwich." They actually brought in the chef from The French Laundry in Napa to teach Adam Sandler how to make it. (The French Laundry is a restaurant in Napa that is super hard to get into. It's booked months in advance. A couple friend that I know finally got in, and they ended up spending >$2K just for dinner. But I digress.) Anyway, check it out. Google "Spanglish Sandwich."

  3. Anonymous, that sounds like something my husband would LOVE. Thanks for mentioning it! I googled it - didn't realize how much is out there about that sandwich! Amazing. Thomas Keller is really something. I've heard his other restaurant, ad hoc, is more accessible/less intimidating than French Laundry ... I don't know for sure, though, since I've been to neither!

  4. I never ate BLT, but love LTO, lettuce, Tomatoes and Onions. :-) I like your picture with avocado too. I am vegetarian so bacon will not go right so I will make this modified version of it.

    I agree with Anon about spnglish movie sandwich scene! loved it.