One of my great joys during summer is the proliferance of wonderful tomatoes. Especially exciting are the marvelous heirloom varieties available at the many farmer’s markets that pepper our fair city of angels. But although I love gorgeous varieties like green zebra, nectarine, moneymaker, pineapple, and brandywine the tomato I turn to most is the beefsteak. Large, ruddy, sweet, acidic, and truly mouthwatering, beefsteaks are the best choice for a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich.
In the past week I’ve made a couple of excellent BLT’s featuring some beautiful thick slabs of beefsteak tomatoes. In truth I’m never quite satisfied with the classic BLT; I almost always will add an “A”, making a BLT into a BLAT. Being a resident of Southern California, it’s a no-brainer that I’d add avocado to the sandwich. For the second sando I was out of avocado so I threw in a bit of arugula, which lends a lovely peppery and herbaceous note.
When I make a BLT or a BLAT I have a few basic rules. I always lightly toast the bread. I always add mayo, which I usually make from scratch. I always put the warm bacon between the lettuce and the tomato. I always use iceberg lettuce; it’s not only the classic choice, but its insipid flavor and watery crunch are the perfect foil for both the tomato slabs and the salty, smoky, and meaty bacon. Finally, I always use a excellent bacon. Two of my favorites are Applegate Sunday Bacon and Pederson’s Uncured Hickory-Smoked Bacon. Both are readily available and far superior to Oscar Meyer or Farmer John bacons. Sure, you can use whatever small-batch bacon you want (and I do on occasion), but whatever bacon you choose shouldn’t be so chewy that you can’t bite through it with ease.
When I cook bacon I always cook it in the oven. Much better than the pan-method, roasting bacon results in evenly-cooked strips and is far less messy. No grease-spatter and far less work; if you don’t cook your bacon in the oven you’re behind the times, dude.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place your bacon strips on a sheet-pan lined with parchment paper, or better yet, lined with a rack. Roast the bacon until crisp, probably twenty minutes, although time varies depending on brand. In the meantime you can clean your lettuce, slice your tomatoes, and toast your bread. Assemble your sandwich while the bacon is hot.
BLAT #1 was composed of toasted buttermilk country white bread with a generous amount of mayo, beefsteak tomato, iceberg lettuce, and Applegate Sunday Bacon.
BLAT #2 was composed of toasted seven-grain bread with mayo and Irish butter, beefsteak tomato, iceberg lettuce, arugula, and Pederson’s bacon.
BLAT’s all Follks!