How To Make this BLT Season the Best Ever
The electrifying euphoria many people feel when they hear the first "Jingle Bells" of December is how I feel when I see ripe tomatoes at the farmer's market in June. Halloween, Thanksgiving, pumpkin spice latte season, the start of Spring— reader, you can have them all. The start of BLT Season is my personal Christmas, and I'll be celebrating it until there isn't a tomato worth slicing up in the state of Alabama.
But much like sculpture, contemporary dance, or classical violin, the art of the BLT takes time to master. And personal preference on ingredients, ratios, and sandwich structure can speak volumes about your personality. For the purposes of our conversation today, I won't even get into a discussion about either the necessity of mayo or which brand you should be using. It is necessary and it should be Duke's.
However, these five less-obvious tips will continue to bless your BLTs all summer long.
WATCH: Tomato and Saltine Cracker Salad
Of course, bread serves as the BLT base, but there the question of toasting, which kind, even which brand. Many evangelize the eponymous powers of Wonder Bread while others opt for sturdier country-style loaves. Toasting is key regardless. You need a strong slice to stand up to both the mayo and the juiciness of the tomato, and a thicker cut is even better. Say it loud for the people in the back: sogginess is the enemy of the BLT.
Warped boards or crumpled drywall don't make for a solid structure and neither does curled-up or brittle bacon. Instead of frying your bacon in a skillet, put thick, quality bacon slices on a baking sheet and throw them under the broiler for a few minutes. If you and your broiler are in a strained relationship, you can also bake them at 400 for 10 to 15 minutes. In much less time and mess, you can fix a crowd's worth of bacon or two slices just for you. Plus, the flat pieces will make constructing your BLT infinitely easier.
Much how you put on your clothes, layering a BLT is crucial both for its enjoyability. You wouldn't put your underpants over your jeans, so why on earth would you even consider putting mayo on any layer other than the toasted bread? With that first layer of mortar affixed, next lay down the lettuce to serve as a sort of weatherproof guard for juice, then the tomato, bacon, and finally the other slice of bread. Crucial step alert: it should also be dressed in mayo. You know how they say life is for the living? Well, it's also for the person who knows a sandwich should be spread on both sides.
With salty bacon and mayo, you might be hesitant to add any more salinity to your sandwich. But salt-and-peppering your tomatoes a few minutes prior to is a step that separates the amateurs from the artists. But don't go overboard. Just a sprinkle of Diamond Crystal's kosher salt (which is a less salty-salt) is all you need to awaken your ‘maters.
Extra Credit Components
The BLT is but a canvas for your own visions. Add torn basil leaves or avocado slices; mix sumac into your mayo; broil your bacon with a dusting of brown sugar; or slice up heirloom tomatoes.