What really makes a Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwich stand out? Fresh tomatoes, of course! You know that BLT stands for bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes. Did you know that the ingredients that you use can make this an ordinary flavorful sandwich or one that makes you close your eyes and moan? The secret is in the tomato and bacon. The tomato needs to have an acid bite. Bacon needs to be extra crispy. Limp bacon will make a ho-hum sandwich.
The best tomatoes are fresh from the garden. The garden doesnít need to be yours! If it's summer, you can run to your local farmerís market to choose the perfect tomato. Look for Big Boy, Rutgers, Better Girl, or Jet Star tomatoes. The Jet Stars are smaller, but what they lack in size, they make up for in taste. Chill the tomato for easier slicing, but donít leave it for days in the refrigerator. That could affect the texture. If you like a lot of tomato like I do, slice it thicker. If the bacon is the thing that you love, slice it thinner.
What if it is not summer, and you need to have a BLT in the worst way? Use Campari tomatoes. I like the Sunset brand. Costco and some Wal-Mart stores sell them. They donít taste like garden grown tomatoes, but they are the next best thing. When youíve got to have a Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich, and garden grown tomatoes arenít available, this is the way to go.
There must be many ways to make crispy bacon, but I bake mine. My mother swore by it, and my husband loves it. You need a very large heavy skillet to bake it correctly. After it cools from baking, the bacon is so toothsome, and you have bacon fat for using judiciously in dishes where you need a bit of extra flavor.
Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich Recipe
For each sandwich, you need the following:
BaconDo not use thick sliced bacon. Get a good brand with a nice balance of meat and fat. You need enough to cover each sandwichís bread.
Lettuce I like a nice iceberg or leaf lettuce. You need enough to cover each sandwichís bread.
Tomato that has enough acid to be tasty. You need enough to cover each sandwichís bread.
Bread that will stand up to a juicy tomato. I use San Francisco Sourdough.
Mayonnaiseto taste. Please use your favorite mayonnaise.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use a large, heavy pan. To bake bacon to a toothsome crisp, you need double slices. Either fold a slice in half to make a short slice, or lay one strip on top of the other. You may overlap the slices slightly as they will shrink. Cover the entire bottom of the pan with the double bacon strips. Sometimes, my bacon strips kind of climb the sides of the pan! The little rounded areas get a folded strip to use all of the space of the pan. One pound of bacon will just fit into my pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. Look at the bacon. If it looks uniformly crisp, take it out. If the fatty parts donít look brown and crisp, turn it over, then cook it another 10-15 minutes. Mine took 1 hour and 15 minutes to cook. Individual ovens and pans will vary. Line a plate with paper towels. Place the bacon on the paper towels and cover with another paper towel to soak up some of the grease. Let the bacon rest there for about 10 minutes.
Wash the lettuce several hours or the day before you will need it. Shake the water off and pull off as many individual leaves as you will need to cover the bread on each sandwich. Put the leaves in a plastic bag or box and add a paper towel to help soak up any remaining water. Chill for at least three hours to get crispy lettuce. If you wash your lettuce just before you use it, you run the risk of having wet or limp lettuce leaves.
Slice the tomatoes according to the tastes of your family. My husband loves a thick slice. I enjoy several thin slices. Again, you need enough tomato to cover the bread.
Use bread that you will enjoy. It needs to stand up to the mayonnaise and juice of the tomato. I like a San Francisco Sourdough. It has a subtle flavor of its own, plus it has a nice texture.
For a sandwich with two pieces of bread you need to spread both slices of bread with mayonnaise and lay them on the plate. Cover one slice of bread with lettuce. Add the tomato to the top of the lettuce, and cover the tomato with bacon slices. It usually takes three of the double slices to make my sandwich. Cover the bottom slice with the second piece of bread and gently press down.
I enjoy serving my BLT with a pickle, chips, carrots, melon and milk.
*Chop the lettuce and tomato. Crumble the bacon. Mix it all up with a bit of mayonnaise and wrap it in a tortilla.
*For a vegetarian alternative, use Morningstar Farms bacon substitute. It is made from all vegetable products. If you are missing the BLT experience, try this, instead of bacon.
A Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich is one way to indulge your inner bacon lover. Properly made, they are a food group all by themselves! Pay attention to the tomatoes and bacon, and you canít go wrong by serving this delicious sandwich.
When I mention products by brand name, these are the ones that I use. I have not received free products from the manufacturers, nor have I been paid to mention the products by name.
There is nothing like a home-grown tomato. Here is a great book to help jump-start your garden tomatoes.
The Complete Guide to Growing Tomatoes: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide Including Heirloom Tomatoes (Back-To-Basics Gardening)