Bacon, Lettuce, & Tomato: A Return to Childhood

The Perfect Sandwich

When I saw my friend, and fellow writer, Jennifer Freeman's picture of BLTs on Facebook, my mouth started watering; I know perfect sandwiches when I see 'em. I asked her to send me the picture for my blog, and she not only complied but sent a lovely paean to that most iconic of American sandwiches, the BLT. Here 'tis:

A perfect bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich is an American classic, five ingredients in perfect harmony.A good theme when creating a great BLT: more is better! More bacon, more mayo, more lettuce. Bread perfectly toasted, lettuce crisp, tomato sliced thin. It's a return to childhood, a happy dream. Let's walk through the ingredients one by one:

Bacon: While its character will surely color your sandwich, you can be the artist. The bacon may be thick cut or thin, smoked or not, cooked crispy or chewy, baked on a cookie sheet or fried (turn to cook evenly on both sides). Burnt is the only bad outcome. Depending on how meaty each slice, you may use about 4-6 slices per sandwich.

Lettuce: This ingredient adds a note of crisp coolness. Iceberg, bibb or romaine are all good options.Two or three big leaves per sandwich. Wash and tear them to approximately the size of your bread.

Tomato: Of course, a delicious summer tomato is preferable to a tasteless one from the supermarket, but actually BLTs are very forgiving about tomatoes. Pick a firm one that is not too juicy, and slice thin. A single layer of tomato slices between the bacon and the lettuce will do the trick.

Bread: As with the bacon, you can pick the type of bread that matches your inner vision. The photo above was snapped at a family reunion where we wanted to recapture the feeling of long-lost childhood, so we used Pepperidge Farm white bread, which toasts up to a nice crisp. 

Mayonnaise: Hellman's Real is the only kind of mayonnaise worth its salt. No skimping here. The mayo is what makes it yummy! 

When all the above ingredients are ready, swab on the mayonnaise generously with a broad knife or spreader. Slap a piece or two of lettuce on each slice of bread, then line up a layer of bacon slices on one side, tomato slices on the other. Add a grind of pepper if desired. Then flip the bacon side on top of the tomato and voila! Cutting in half is possible, though it risks the sandwich falling apart. Optional: a bag of Dirty kettle-cooked potato chips, salt and pepper flavored, root beer or cream soda. Mandatory: a good supply of napkins. 

Let's face it, a BLT sandwich is a bit of a pain to make, but worth all the work and every single calorie.