IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

An American classic

Cookbook author, Michele Anna Jordan on the classic combination of crispy bacon, juicy tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise and fresh baked bread.

The classic combination of crispy bacon, juicy tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise and fresh baked bread, makes the ultimate American sandwich and so much more! Cookbook author, Michele Anna Jordan loves the BLT so much, she wrote a whole book about them called, “The BLT Cookbook: Our Favorite Sandwich,” check out the recipes here:

THE CLASSIC BLT

Makes 1 sandwich

THERE IS GREAT variation among BLTs; with so few ingredients, each one is crucial. The tomato is trickiest. If your BLT jones is an effect of pregnancy, buy tomatoes attached to a segment of vine; you can find them year-round. Slice them, sprinkle a little kosher salt over them, and let them sit. The flavor will perk up a bit. If your craving is simple lust, wait until local tomatoes appear in your farmers’ market. Early Girls are among the first to ripen; as the season gets under way, use your favorite varieties. For lettuce, remove the first outer leaf and then use only the next three layers. Further in, iceberg lettuce gets a little cabbagey. You need the color and delicacy of those outer leaves.

INGREDIENTS

2 slices bacon

2 slices white sandwich bread

1 to 2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 ripe tomato, cored and cut into 5-mm (not quite »-inch) rounds

Kosher salt

Black pepper in a mill

3 iceberg lettuce leaves

DIRECTIONS

Cut the bacon slices in half crosswise, fry until crisp, and drain on a brown paper bag. Shortly before the bacon is fully cooked, toast the bread in a conventional toaster until it is golden brown over about a third to a half of its surface. If you prefer darker toast, let it cook a bit longer, though if it is too dark, its taste will eclipse other flavors.

Spread mayonnaise on both pieces of bread, using as much or as little as you like. Arrange the tomato slices on one piece of bread, overlapping them slightly, and season them lightly with salt and pepper. Set the bacon on top of the tomatoes. Put the lettuce on top, add the second piece of bread, mayonnaise side down, and cut in half diagonally. Enjoy immediately.

Variations

When sweet onions are in season, add a 1/8-inch-thick slice on top of the mayonnaise and under the tomatoes.

Hate mayonnaise? Drizzle a good extra virgin olive oil over the bread after it toasts and top it with a thin layer of fromage blanc or fresh ricotta before adding the tomatoes.

TOMATO SALAD WITH BACON VINAIGRETTE

Serves 6 to 8

When you want the flavors and textures of a BLT in a refined context, try this seductive salad.

INGREDIENTS

For the vinaigrette

6 slices bacon

3 shallots, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 6 percent acidity, plus more as needed

Kosher salt

Black pepper in a mill

½ cp olive oil, plus more as needed

3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

For the salad

8 cups small oak-leaf lettuce leaves

10 to 12 small slicing tomatoes of various colors

6 to 8 slices country-style bread

½ cup fromage blanc or fresh ricotta

» cup extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Black pepper in a mill

» cup toasted bread crumbs

DIRECTIONS

First, make the vinaigrette. Fry the bacon in a medium sauté pan until almost crisp; transfer onto a brown paper bag to drain. Add the shallots to the bacon fat and sauté until soft, 6 to 7 minutes; add the garlic and sauté 2 minutes more. Add the vinegar, simmer until it is reduced by half, season with salt and pepper, stir in the olive oil, and remove from the heat. Stir the mixture, taste, and correct the acid-oil balance if necessary. Correct the seasonings, stir in the parsley, and set aside. Mince the bacon and set it aside.

Spread the lettuce over a large platter.

Remove the core of each tomato and cut it into six wedges. Put the cut tomatoes into a large mixing bowl and pour about half of the vinaigrette over them; toss gently.

Toast the bread until it is golden brown. Spread a little fromage blanc or ricotta over the bread, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Spoon the tomatoes and any juices that have collected in the bowl over the lettuce. Heat the remaining vinaigrette, add the minced bacon, pour it over the tomatoes and greens, and scatter the bread crumbs on top. Arrange the toast around the edge of the platter and serve immediately.

Excerpted from “The BLT Cookbook” by Michele Anna Jordan. Copyright © 2003 Michele Anna Jordan. Published by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt can be used without permission of the publisher.