It’s a rainy October Saturday, and my husband is off on a weekend backpacking trip. Normally I would be too, but my dining room table was literally covered with Roma and Brandywine tomatoes that I picked in a hurry before a hard frost on Wednesday, and I was itching to make a batch of sauce and can it – it takes ages and I knew I would not have time to do it on a weeknight. So, I stayed home, and made my sauce. And all that to say, it’s also a great opportunity to make some rainy-day comfort food for lunch that needs really excellent Brandywine tomatoes – yep, a BLT. And not just any old BLT – the TLBBLT.
It’s a simple sandwich, but I’m a firm believer in the concept of simple but excellent ingredients giving extraordinary results, and this was outstanding.
Here’s my ingredients, except the Hellman’s mayo which I forgot to put into the photo: 4 slices of Arkansas peppered bacon, some aged Cabot farmhouse cheddar, a couple of slices of one of my homegrown Brandywine tomatoes, some organic romaine lettuce, and two slices of Zingerman’s Bakehouse’s farm bread.
I cooked up the bacon in my favorite iron skillet, and took it out to drain. I drained a bit of the fat out of the skillet, but left some in to cook the sandwich in. (I save the fat of course, and use it all the time for cooking. The fat from the peppered bacon always has a nice kick to it!) I assembled the sandwich per the recipe instructions. (You leave out the lettuce during the cooking.)
And put it in the pan in the remaining bacon fat and weighed it down with a bowl. (This was a bit tricky in that my bowl was large and kept tipping, but on the whole it seemed to work well.) Flipped it over when one side was golden brown, cooked it another few minutes til also golden brown.
Then I pried it apart and added in the lettuce, cut it carefully and at a slight angle (Laurel would be proud I think, though I’ve never met her), stepped back to admire it, and then devoured it immediately.
Was a perfect combo of textures and flavors – the crunchy bread and chewy bacon, soft juicy tomatoes and melted cheese – oh my. If I weren’t so full I’d do it all over again.
Here’s the recipe, from page 208 of Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon:
TLBBLT: The Laurel Blakemore Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich
Aside from being the only palindromic recipe name I know, this also makes a really good sandwich, which has long been very popular at the Deli. It’s named for Dr. Laurel Blakemore, horse fanatic, show jumper, pediatric orthopaedic surgeon and a big lover of bacon. It calls for a good bit of mayonnaise—I think a good BLT needs that, but you can certainly cut back if you like. Either way, it’s easy to make and great to eat! The recipe is for a single sandwich but it’s not hard to do the math and make as many as you want.
2 to 4 slices Arkansas peppered bacon
2 slices crusty country bread (we use Zingerman’s Farm Bread)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 slices aged Vermont cheddar cheese
2 thick slices good tomato
Handful of good lettuce
Cook the bacon in a frying pan until done. Remove from pan and drain, but leave the pan on the heat.
Spread mayonnaise on both slices of bread. Put a slice of cheese on each slice, then add the bacon and tomato. Assemble the sandwich, give it a gentle press together with your palm and slide it into the hot pan. Weight it down with a bowl and fry until golden brown. Flip, brown the other side, and remove from pan. Add the lettuce, cut the sandwich on whatever angle your heart desires (remember, though, that Laurel is a surgeon and places great value on properly positioned knife cuts!), and eat it while it’s hot!