The first small, bright red tomatoes appeared at the farmers market on a recent Sunday. They were irresistible to me, especially in the infancy of their season. Each tomato, silver dollar in dimension, ripened on the vine, juicy, full of seeds and flavor, lay in a carton with a half dozen of its brethren for only $3. Two days later there was only one left.
The first beautiful, homegrown tomatoes, like the ones at the market, are the signal to me that it is BLT season. Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches and summer are such a perfect combination.
Some say bacon is the star, I think it is the tomato, but maybe it is the combination of the three ingredients that create the magic in this absurdly simple sandwich.
Simple because in the classic version there are only three ingredients sandwiched between two slices of toast. Add a little mayo and presto you have the star of the summer sandwich world!
I took a tour of my cookbook collection looking for variations on the classic BLT. Cookbook authors must think it is too simple to bother devoting space in their cookbooks to this incredibly popular sandwich.
Even my cooking school textbook couldn’t find this sandwich worthy of a few lines. Short sighted, in my opinion, because while the BLT is simple, getting it right requires some know how. It starts with the best ingredients, of course, but the build matters too.
Building a Better BLT Sandwich
To build a better BLT, I buy bacon, thick cut from my farmer friend at the market. His pigs have names and he takes great care raising them and has a light touch with the seasonings.
I use a hearty French or Italian loaf that I slice and toast in a skillet with butter. I prefer homegrown Romaine or Leaf lettuce and the ripest, juiciest tomato I can find. I like mayo or even just a little butter on my BLT.
This is a summer staple in my household food repertoire, so everything except the mayo is super fresh from the farmers market.
BLT sandwiches are simple and delicious, but the real reason I love them so much is that making and eating them screams summer. Fresh, homegrown veggies, hot sunny weather, and daylight that stretches deep into the evening should never be taken for granted.
Summer provides all the ingredients for a perfectly simple BLT sandwich, but it still takes you to make one.
BLT Sandwich Recipe