The Ultimate BLT

The Ultimate BLT

A bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich is one of those dishes that instantly triggers nostalgia for me. A good BLT is one of my mom’s favorite foods, which means so often growing up she would throw together a BLT for our supper.

Her recipe did not require special ingredients or fancy techniques, just a bit more care. She would quickly pan fry some bacon, which she usually had on hand in the fridge, slice some tomatoes from the garden, and slather toasted white bread with mayo. After watching her prepare countless sandwiches I realized what made her homemade version my favorite version. Aside from the addition of love, my mom seasoned every layer of her sandwich with salt and pepper.

First the mayo is lacquered on the bread then hit with a sprinkling of seasoning, the next layer is added and seasoned, and so on. As you can imagine, building a sandwich with tomato that has a sprinkling of salt and pepper far exceeds a sandwich with plain tomato.

And although I feel that you can never go wrong with classic BLT, I wanted to push the limits on what a BLT can be. With that in mind, I did not want to change the backbones of the sandwich by adding or using a bunch of random things. In the south people love to throw a fried green tomato onto a BLT in an attempt to heighten the recipe–I was not about to do that.

My approach is to amplify the already existing ingredients of a BLT. Add some garlic to the mayo, use better tomatoes, etcetera.

I use this Balsamic Onion Jam recipe to make the jam I use on the sandwich.

A few notes:

  1. Garlic confit can make you very sick if you do not cook it and store it properly. I recommend using it immediately and if you want to save it, freeze it.
  2. I purchased a loaf of homemade bread from a local baker. I recommend opting for a better bread than normal sliced bread from the grocery store.
  3. The true secret to making any BLT so much better is to salt and pepper every layer, even your smear of mayo.
  4. Finally, bake your bacon. This is a trick I learned during my short time as a line cook. Most restaurants place bacon in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake it instead of pan frying it. It keeps the kitchen cleaner (bacon grease does not spatter everywhere) and you are able to tend to other things in the kitchen while the bacon bakes.

An Ultimate BLT

Category: Recipes

All of the prepared ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 Heirloom Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Pound of Thick Sliced Bacon
  • 8 Slices of Country White Bread
  • Balsamic Onion Jam, link to recipe can be found above
  • 1 Head of Garlic
  • 1/2 Cup of Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup of Mayonise
  • 1 Head of Romaine Lettuce
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions

  1. First, bake your bacon. Heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange your bacon in a single layer on a sheet pan, or two if needed. Bake for approximatley 45 minutes, or until bacon is the texture that you like.
  2. While the bacon cooks, make the garlic confit. Peel the garlic cloves. In a small saucepan, combine your olive oil and peeled garlic.
  3. Heat oil over medium low heat. Cook garlic until soft, approximate 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Once your bacon is cooked, remove it from the oven and let the bacon drain on paper towels.
  5. With your cooked garlic, make your garlic aioli. Finely chop 3 cloves of garlic. Combine the chopped garlic with the mayonnaise and a pinch of salt and pepper. Store the remaining cooked garlic for another use.
  6. Rinse off lettuce and tomatoes, then set aside to dry.
  7. Slice the Romain lettuce into bread size pieces. Slice the tomatoes.
  8. Toast your white bread.
  9. Smear each piece of toast with maynaoise, then salt and pepper the mayonnaise.
  10. Next place on your romaine, then a layer of bacon, and a layer of tomatoes. Salt and pepper your tomatoes.
  11. Spoon over your balsamic onion jam. Finish the sandwhich by topping it with a piece of bread with mayonnaise.
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Chard, Bacon, & Corn Pizza

Chard, Bacon, & Corn Pizza

My mother and my uncle (her brother) have an extremely green thumb. If a green thumb is something you can inherit, they definitely got it from my great grandmother.

As for me—well, my thumb is probably kind of that weird color in-between yellow and light green.

For the last couple of years I have been planting a summer garden. I have done okay, but I would dub my prowess less than masterful. Each year has yielded different bounties with some crops more successful than others. I will add, the heat of Savannah makes it much more difficult to be successful. I am practically watering my garden twice a day.

This year I added Swiss chard to my list of plants, which have always included tomatoes, peppers, and squash. As it turns out, Swiss chard is rather easy to grow other than having to water it a bit extra that most of the other plants.

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Once one of my chard crops was too large for its spot, I decided it was time to cut it and cook it. I have found that my favorite part about summer, aside from the ample time at the beach, is the summer bounty that is available. Every single fruit and vegetable at the store tastes so delicious and fresh.

This recipe takes a plain old pizza dough and spruces it up with bacon (because everyone loves bacon), fresh summer corn, and swiss chard from my garden.

I use bread flour for this recipe because it creates a thinner, crispier crust. If you do not have bread flour you can use regular all purpose, but be aware your crust will be slightly chewier…but still delicious.

If you do not want to make your own dough, pop by your local pizzeria and buy a ball or two from them (it is better than the frozen version).

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Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

  • 2 Teaspoons of Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 and 1/2  Cups of Room Temperature Water
  • 4 1/2 Cups of Bread Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons of Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, combine your yeast and water. Let sit for 3 minutes to allow yeast to bloom.
2. In your stand mixer, combine flour and yeast mixture. Mix to combine.
3. Add your olive oil and salt, then mix to combine.
4. Attach your dough hook, and knead the mixture on medium-low for 4-5 minutes or until dough comes together and looks smooth. If mixture absolutely does not come together you can add a tablespoon or two of olive oil.
5. Place your dough in an oiled bowl, and cover with oiled plastic wrap.
6. Let sit on the counter for one hour, or until doubled in size.
7. Gently turn out the dough and divide into two balls for use.
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Swiss Chard, Bacon, & Corn Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Package of Thick Cut Bacon
  • 2 Ears of Fresh Corn
  • 2 Cups of Swiss Chard
  • 1 Clove of Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Cup of Mayonnaise
  • Juice from 1/2 a Lemon
  • 2 Cups of Shredded Mozzarella
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions:

  1. Prepare your bacon first. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place bacon in an even layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake the bacon for 30-45 minutes or until it has reached your desired doneness.
  4. Remove bacon from oven and drain on a paper towels, set aside.
  5. Turn oven up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit or preheat your grill.
  6. In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, and minced garlic. Stir until fully combined. Set aside.
  7. Rinse, remove the stems, and coarsely chop your Swiss chard.
  8. Heat a small skillet over medium with one tablespoon of olive oil.
  9. Cook Swiss chard in the heated skillet until very lightly wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.
  10. Rinse your corn, then cut kernels away from the core. Set kernels aside.
  11. Prepare your pizza paddle or baking pan with a heavy amount of flour or semolina flour to allow dough to slip off easily.
  12. On a floured surface, turn out one of your pizza dough balls.
  13. Stretch, toss, or roll your pizza dough to your desired size. Each dough ball could fairly stretch up to 8×8.
  14. Place the stretched dough onto your prepared pizza paddle or baking sheet.
  15. Lightly drizzle your dough with olive oil.
  16. Spread two tablespoons of garlic mayonnaise over your prepared pizza dough.
  17. Sprinkle dough with salt and pepper.
  18. Spread 1/4 cup of your mozzarella over the pizza dough.
  19. Next, spread 1/2 of your corn, 1/2 of your Swiss chard, and 1/2 of your bacon over the pizza dough.
  20. Top the pizza with 1/4 cup of mozzarella.
  21. Repeat the process for preparing the pizza with the second pizza dough ball.
  22. Once you have both pizza prepared, cook on the grill or in the oven until the edges of the crust are golden brown and the cheese is bubbling.