As summer nears and the promise of perfect tomatoes peeks up over the horizon, the prospect of an excellent BLT shines brightly. What is interesting to me about a BLT is the dueling dynamics of how the ingredients join together in this sandwich.
One the one hand, the bread, bacon, lettuce and tomatoes all become one better-than-the-sum-of-its-parts whole. On the other hand, the ingredients still manage to remain distinct. You’re aware of the crisp-tender bread, the juicy lush tomatoes, the crunchy lettuce, the salty frizzled-up bacon and the mayonnaise pulling the components together. E pluribus unum.
I’ve ratcheted up the classic BLT a notch or two here by adding tarragon to the mayo, not only inside the sandwich but also on the outside of the bread before it’s griddled, to give extra flavour and caramelizing.
What makes it a California BLT is the addition of avocado and sprouts.
Buy good bacon. Use good mayo. Find a great tomato. Make sure your avocado is ripe. After that, all you have to do is assemble, and you will have a fantastic sandwich.
Servings: 4 sandwiches
Start to finish: 25 minutes
8 slices thick-cut bacon, halved crosswise
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons minced tarragon
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
8 slices good bread, country white, sourdough, multigrain, your choice
1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1 large tomato, sliced
1 avocado, peeled, pit removed, and sliced
4 slices romaine heart lettuce, sliced crosswise
1/3 cup sprouts, such as broccoli sprouts
Preheat the oven to 400 F, and place a wire cooling rack in a rimmed baking sheet.
Lay the bacon on the wire rack and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until crisp (the bacon will crisp up a bit more as it cools, so take it out when it still has some pliability).
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, tarragon, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Spread a thin layer of the mayonnaise mixture on one side of each of the slices of bread. (You should use less than half the mayo mixture). Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Place as many of the bread slices in the skillet as will fit, mayo side down. Allow to cook until very lightly brown, about 2 minutes, then remove from the skillet and repeat with the remaining slices. Set aside.
Stir the minced garlic into the rest of the mayo mixture. Divide the remaining mayo mixture over the bread slices, on the untoasted side. Layer the tomato, avocado, lettuce and a generous pinch of sprouts on top of the bread. Top with the remaining slices of bread, toasted side up. Cut in half, and serve.