Tuesday, August 12, 2014
BLT Sandwiches with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basket Weave Bacon
EACH SUMMER, WE EAGERLY ANTICIPATE THE ARRIVAL of Harold's tomatoes. And it is our tradition to make BLT's with the first ones, because is there any better way to honor a fresh, vine ripened, summer tomato?
Harold is a farmer in a nearby county who grows all kinds of vegetables. He is especially proud of his tomatoes (as well he should be) and is most well known, area-wide, for his Mr. Stripey tomatoes. Mr. Stripeys are low acid, yellow heirloom tomatoes with red striping. They are sweet, juicy, and extremely tender. They are perfect for sandwiches and salads.
Harold is a commercial vegetable grower but because we happen to have an inside track, we had the honor of trying out three other heirloom tomatoes he has tested this season, which are not yet on the market. They are a pink tomato, a red Mr. Stripey, and a Cherokee black tomato.
The idea of weaving little rafts of bacon for sandwiches is not original to me. I have seen the concept around for quite a while but this is the first time I have tried it. And it really works great!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking pan with foil. Cut bacon in half. I used 3 strips of bacon, or 6 half strips for each raft. Weave like a little potholder, or basket, or lattice crust. Bake 20 - 30 minutes, to preferred done-ness, depending on thickness of bacon. Keep checking, it may be done earlier or it may take a little longer. We like our bacon crispy and I think these rafts cooked around 35 minutes.
Pritchard Parker and I don't agree on every aspect of the perfect BLT. We both agree there is no need to bother without excellent summer tomatoes. We both prefer crispy iceberg lettuce. Neither of us wants to scrimp on bacon.
He prefers his bread untoasted and smeared with mayo, specifically Duke's mayonnaise (this is a must). I like my BLT on buttered toast.
How do you make your BLT?