The Mostly-Homemade BLT

What to do with my newly-smoked bacon? Put it to the test in the vehicle designed explicitly to highlight its flavor: the bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, the humble – potentially mighty – BLT. Inspired by Michael Ruhlman’s BLT From Scratch Summertime Challenege, I decided to create the ingredients myself.

Sadly, it’s March in New England, so I had to settle for making only three out of the five ingredients. First up: the bread. I baked another loaf from the batch of low-knead dough I prepared last week.

Next up: the bacon. I cut the slab I had stored in the fridge into thick slices. That end chunk on the left? It was destined to become an extra snack for the two bacon preparers.

I fried the bacon until browned and crisp. A prominently placed knife warded off any bacon snitchers.

Lastly, while the bacon fried, I made mayonnaise. I used the quick recipe from Ruhlman’s Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking, taking longer to assemble the ingredients than it did to make the mayo. I started with an egg yolk, a teaspoon each of lemon juice and water, a quarter teaspoon of salt, and six ounces of canola oil.

I added the yolk, lemon, water, and salt to a two-cup measuring cup, buzzed them together with an immersion blender, and then slowly added the oil in a thin stream, moving the blender blades up and down to create the emulsion. In less than a minute I had fresh mayonnaise.

I gathered my two non-original ingredients.

I sliced the bread and tossed it into the toaster oven. While I waited, I washed and sliced the tomato and lettuce. At last, it was time for the final assemblage. I spread mayo onto each slice of bread, laid down two strips of bacon, then the lettuce, and the final tomato layer.

How did it taste? He Who Will Not Be Ignored offered this evaluation: “It’s crunchy and salty, and I love the smoky aftertaste!” (Keep it up, son, I’ll make a cook out of you yet.) Each component made a contribution, but all were perfectly balanced. Unquestionably the best BLT I’ve ever tasted.

But I won’t rest until I can make the entire sandwich from scratch. I have friends who grow tomatoes in the summer, all I have to do is convince them to plant some lettuce. I already have a sandwich to offer them in return.

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9 Responses to The Mostly-Homemade BLT

  1. Jamy says:

    Well, that looks fabulous. Of course, I don’t do the bacon thing, so must make do with veggie bacon. I like a big thick slab of heirloom tomato, thinly sliced red onion (a requirement for me), and sometimes avocado makes a great addition. And I always salt and pepper the tomato, preferably with coarse crystal salt, so you get those little salt sparkles of flavor.

    I should do home-made mayo more often. Thanks for this version!

    • David says:

      Veggie bacon isn’t bacon, it’s something else. I know, I helped create a soy-based bacon analogue at General Foods (the subject of a future post).

      No need to salt the tomato, not with the level of salt in the REAL bacon.

  2. Merryl says:

    Guess what! I just planted 3 different varieties of Romaine lettuce in my Aerogarden. If the Defender variety makes it, I’m supposed to have baby lettuce in 28 days and full size of all 3 in about 2 months. So check with me later.

    • David says:

      But what about tomatoes? Are you going to use one of those upside-down tomato planters?

      • Merryl says:

        Nope. Strangely enough, I’m not a fan of raw tomatoes. I can tolerate good ones but can’t stand plastic factory tomatoes. You’ll have to hit up a different friend for those. (And yes, when I get a BLT, I usually have them hold the T.)

      • David says:

        You didn’t really think I’d use “plastic factory tomatoes” on that sandwich, did you?

  3. winenegress says:

    I wanted to reach through the screen and grab that sandwich!

  4. ruhlman says:

    hi david,

    now you’ve got me wanting a BLT! nice chicken post as well.

    would you email me please. I need to ask you something.



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