Who do I have to blow for a good BLT around here?

I mean, how hard is it? It’s just bacon, lettuce and tomato. It’s not rocket science. And yet, do you have any idea how many times I’ve ordered a BLT in a restaurant and had it SUCK? Always for a different reason too: shitty bread…vapid tomatoes…burned bacon, or worse, they try to gussy it up with overly thick artisan bread or too many extra toppings. Now, I’ve got nothin’ against artisan bread. I used to be an artisan baker. I love good bread. I’ve even been baking bread all weekend. Case in point…the ciabatta I made yesterday:

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Well, I had a craving for a BLT last night, so that’s what I had for dinner. I’m going to show you how to make a decent BLT. This is an, admittedly, short and easy blog this week, as my baby is sick and I don’t have as much time for the usual 150 photo ‘instructional’. I did not use the above ciabatta for the sandwich because it’s just too much bread. I want the focus to be…I know..it’s crazy….the BACON, LETTUCE and TOMATO. Now, I don’t mind a little avocado on it. I like a good BLTA like the next girl but, I didn’t have any ripe avocados so, a simple BLT it is! For bread, well, I like Orowheat Honey Wheat Berry bread. I just like the flavor and the texture. They make two Honey Wheat Berry breads. One is bigger than the other. I like the smaller, denser style:

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When it comes to a BLT, though, the most important thing is the ingredients: seasonality, freshness, ripeness. I’m starting to harvest my heirloom tomatoes right now…mostly the cherry tomatoes but I’m getting a few random, full-size tomatoes as well:

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The bacon has to be DAMN good and it has to be cooked right. (Yes…another bacon blog…bear with me…I’m an addict.) A lot of people don’t seem to know how to make good bacon. It’s often burned in some places, raw in others…too leathery…too fatty, something. I’m pretty anal about how I cook my bacon. I cook it low and slow, ie: at an extremely low temperature for at least an hour or so, to really render the fat. Then, at the last minute, I turn up the heat and crisp it up. When you do it this way, the bacon will almost dissolve on the tongue. It also helps if you use good bacon such as
Nueske’s:

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Nueske’s bacon is not only amazingly flavorful, it cooks beautifully too. It’s neither too thick or too thin. Perfect for a BLT. So, like I said, lay it evenly in your pan. I’m using my trusty cast-iron skillet. Turn it on the lowest setting and just let it sit there…melting really, for the next hour or so. Go do other shit. You don’t have to stand over it. Just check back occasionally to make sure it’s not getting too hot. Sometimes, the middle ones will start to cook a little faster. Just rearrange the slices accordingly.

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After about an hour, it should start to look like this, sort of translucent but not yet crispy:

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At that point, turn up the heat to about medium to medium high. When you start to see foam on the surface of the bacon, then it’s just about there. Start moving it around to evenly ‘foam’ it all but don’t let it burn!!!

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It should look like this when it’s done:

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God knows I can’t waste bacon fat. Brush that bread with a little bit and then toast it up:

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Go ahead and slice up those tomatoes.

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Season your bread with a little salt and pepper:

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A good BLT has mayo on it. Make your own or go with the good stuff:

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As far as lettuce goes…I like arugula and I like a bunch of it:

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Then I drizzle a little bit of really good olive oil on the arugula. I’m using my favorite ‘finishing’ olive oil: The Olive Press’s Sevillano Extra Virgin Olive Oil. By ‘finishing’ olive oil, I mean a special artisan olive oil that you use as a condiment rather than a ‘pure’ olive oil/grease you use for cooking. I also season it with salt and pepper. Remember, season as you go:

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Add those heirloom tomatoes:

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Then add your perfectly cooked bacon:

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And there you have it, a great BLT. I’m not going to say perfect. Perfect is in the eye of the beholder and well, I still wish I had a little bit of avocado. That would make it perfect. The avocados on my tree are still a little small.

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But wait…I love a good pickle. I make my own and normally I’d use them but our friend Nicky keeps eating them all. (NICKY!!) Anyway, in keeping with the Sonoma theme (where the olive oil is from), I just bought these delicious Alexander Valley Gourmet pickles from Whole Paycheck. They’re amazing…and SPICY!

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There, that’s better. Ok, let’s go check on that sick baby. I left her playing in her beloved exersaucer:

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Oh, and Maggie? Leslie Van Houten called. She said if you’re going to go to the trouble of carving something into your forehead, at least make it look like something:

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2 Responses to “Who do I have to blow for a good BLT around here?”

  1. Club Kitty Spain – Part 2: The Prep « Club Kitty Says:

    […] for the dates: First, start to cook some bacon on the lowest flame possible like I explained in the BLT Blog. What you’re looking for is translucent but FLEXIBLE bacon. The reason I’m pre-cooking the […]

  2. French Bistro - Central France - Part 1 « Club Kitty Says:

    […] cook them. I cook them in a cast-iron pan for an hour or so over the lowest heat possible. See my BLT blog for pics of my bacon-cooking method. When the fat starts to look rendered and translucent, I turn […]

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