I feel so sad for tomato haters. For most southerners, a sliced tomato with salt and pepper is divine. On bread with Duke’s mayonnaise is even better. Cooked in a pimento cheese tomato pie with Duke’s mayonnaise and Vidalia onions and basil is heavenly. And the best thing on the entire planet – I’d argue better than a 13 layer caramel cake – is the BLT with a ripe tomato. The Blue Dogs even have a catchy bluegrass ode, Home Grown Tomatoes. Read on to learn how to make the ultimate BLT sandwich…
Let’s first address an uncomfortable fact: People exist that hate tomatoes. I’m married to one. It’s tolerable but disgraceful. I cannot imagine hating the fruit that seems like a vegetable. Tomatoes are summer’s great gift to humans. Not everyone you know is going to love a BLT. So sad.
I’ve made a lot of BLTs in my life. The recipe is pretty straightforward: bread, mayo, … Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato. BLT. Can you improve on this? Is there a secret to a better BLT?
Last week, Fresh Market’s Little Big Meals was the BLT. I love a BLT, but I was skeptical about this as their LBM choice. And then I caved because who can resist bacon? And the tomatoes looked like the perfect T for a BLT. Let me tell you: it was the perfect BLT experience. So, like any good blogger, I took a lot of pictures while making my lunch.
BTW: every week, Fresh Market offers a $20 Little Big Meal and you walk right in and pick up all of the pre-prepped ingredients for dinner. It’s amazing. Add to your weekly rotation.
Choose your bread wisely. Brioche was Fresh Market’s selection for the BLT and I have to say… it was incredible. A little sweet and thick and tasty. Other options would be a straight up country white bread, an Italian bread, possibly sourdough, and definitely not wheat. No reason to opt for healthy when one of your main three ingredients is bacon.
Toast the bread, obviously.
There is only one acceptable mayonnaise: Duke’s.
Bon Appetit agrees, “In the South, if it’s not Duke’s, it’s not mayonnaise. Compared with other store brands, this one’s zestier and more acidic, using only egg yolks and no added sugar.”
Spread Duke’s on your toasted bread of choice.
The B in the BLT
Bacon is bacon. There is great bacon, excellent bacon, and superior bacon. Fresh Market’s butcher cut bacon is superior. Not totally necessary for the perfect BLT, but definitely enhances the sandwich treat.
The L in the BLT
Could you have an excellent sandwich without lettuce? Sure. It’s the least important ingredient in the BLT but it’s still important. The B and T say, “you complete me” to lettuce in a condescendingly sweet tone. Lettuce adds a little crunch, adds a buffer between the tomato and bread to avoid soggy bread, offers a some filling, and green to make the sandwich complete.
The T in the BLT
This is the one ingredient that makes or breaks the perfect BLT. A bland, flavorless tomato is pointless. You may as well add extra lettuce and let the bacon and Duke’s carry the sandwich. But a great tomato is the star of the sandwich.
Slice the tomato. Salt and pepper it. Stare at it adoringly.
Proper BLT Stacking
- TOP / Toasted bread smeared with Duke’s mayo
- BOTTOM / Toasted bread (more Duke’s optional)
BLTs carry so much nostalgia for me. My dad makes an excellent BLT and the sandwich brings him so much joy. It’s all about the tomato. Salt and lots of pepper. We used to grow tomatoes in our garden – and those tomatoes, hands down, were the best. I ran into a friend who is now a super cool southern chef – and he shared a story with me that my dad basically forced him to eat a tomato at my house. He politely told my dad that he did not like tomatoes, and my tomato-loving dad replied, “that’s ridiculous, you’ll eat the tomato,” and that was that. My friend liked the tomato. Ha!
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