Before the microwave, turkey bacon, pre-sliced loaf bread and store-bought mayo, the wholesome BLT had more character. A staple for a simple and refreshing meal on a hot summer's day, my twist on this American favorite uses homemade mayonnaise (with fresh lemon juice and olive oil), thick-cut baked bacon, Heirloom tomatoes, crispy Romaine lettuce and crusty artisanal bread—something more flavorful and reminiscent of a sandwich from a bygone era.
"Old School" BLT
2 pounds extra thick cut bacon
Homemade Mayonnaise (see recipe below)
8 1/2-inch-thick slices of artisanal bread (such as a Tuscan Boule, Ciabatta, Peasant loaf)
2 large or 3 medium Heirloom tomatoes, deseeded and cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick slices
Kosher or Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 leaves of Hearts of Romaine lettuce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line a sided baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil (making
clean up easier) and arrange the bacon on the foil, making sure there is a
little space between each slice. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the bacon over and
continue baking for another 5 to 8 minutes, until nicely golden by not overly
crisp. Immediately remove the bacon from the baking sheet, placing on paper
towels to drain. Set aside.
Meanwhile, make the mayonnaise as indicated below.
To assemble: liberally spread mayonnaise on the top of the
bottom slice of bread, topping with 4 slices of bacon (depending on how thick
the bacon is cut). Add 1 or 2 slices of tomato on top of the bacon. Lightly
season the top of the tomato with a pinch of salt and a couple grinds of black pepper.
Add 2 pieces of lettuce (*). Spread the top slice of bread with mayonnaise and
place on top of the lettuce.
Makes 4 sandwiches.
*NOTE: For a really summertime flavor-packed twist, add 3
large fresh basil leaves with the lettuce to each sandwich.
For homemade mayonnaise:
1 large egg yolk (*)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup olive oil (use extra virgin olive oil for a more flavorful mayo)
In a medium bowl, add the egg yolk, lemon juice and salt.
Using a hand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the yolk mixture on low until
light in color. With the mixer running, slowly drizzle in the oil, a little at
a time. Do not add the oil too fast or the mayonnaise will curdle—this is a
case where less is more. Continue beating until all of the oil has been added
and the mixture has thickened, 5 to 6 minutes. [Should the mixture curdle, do
not worry! Add an additional egg yolk to a new bowl and SLOWLY beat in a little
of the "curdled" mixture at a time into
the new egg yolk. This should un-curdle the first attempt and you can continue
slowly adding the rest of the oil.] Place in an airtight container and
refrigerate until ready to use. [Refrigerated, it will keep for 4 to 5 days.] Makes
about 1 cup.
(*)Please take note that the eggs used in this recipe are
not cooked. Notice: The consumption
of raw or undercooked eggs, meat, poultry, seafood or shellfish may increase
your risk of food borne illness.