History has had its shares of true bona fide sandwich lovers. There was Hillel the Elder who served lamb and bitter herbs between two matzos. There was John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who wedged a bit of beef between two slices of toasted bread so that he wouldn't have to leave the gaming table. Even fictitious personalities got into the game; Dagwood Burnstead was known to pile quite a bit of meat and cheese between a few slices of bread, giving us the beloved Dagwood. And then there was Dee of What's Happening
(yes, I am a child of the 1970s), whose answer to life's daily predicaments always involved running to the kitchen to make a sandwich. When the tough got going, well, Dee made a sandwich– a philosophy I don't think is all that bad myself.
Sandwiches are so varied, so customized, so beloved that it would be impossible to blog about them in any depth at all. I could talk about pining for grilled cheese sandwich night at Campanile. I could talk about eating the best Cuban I've ever had in my life in Miami. I could wax poetic about the pleasures of a Vietnamese sandwich complete with baguette, cornichon and paté, but I won't. Instead, I want to talk about one of life's most simplest of pleasures, the culinary trinity that makes me salivate just from thinking about it.Bacon + Lettuce + Tomato.
I wish I could offer and absolute statement here, saying that the combination of these three ingredients make for my favorite sandwich, but truth be told I am way too crazy for just about anything between two slices of bread. But if I had to pick, nothing puts a smile on my face quicker than smoky bacon, thick juicy slices of ripe tomatoes, crisp lettuce and generous amounts of homemade mayonnaise.
The beauty of a BLT is that its open to a wide range of interpretation. Adding avocado creates a California BLT (or BLAT, a rather non-tasty and unfortunate acronym). A BLT tastes just as amazing on toast as it does your run-of-the-mill white bread, but of course a sandwich constructed on artisan or specialty bread will always taste better. And a BLT is only as good as its ingredients. When it comes to bacon, I skip the cheap stuff and go for the thick stuff - you want the bacon to count in this sandwich, don't you? And if you can get your hands on delicious, fresh tomatoes then knock yourself out– A BLT with mealy tomatoes is a shame beyond shames. And when it comes to lettuce, I prefer green or red leaf, but you could easily add anything you have on hand. But remember, freshness counts!
And now to my favorite part: mayonnaise. Growing up it was always the jarred stuff, which does the job but comes no where close to the flavor of making it yourself. Of course I'm lazy and go for convenience, which in my case means Lemonaise from The Ojai Cook. I've held off ranting about this stuff for some time but I feel a posting dedicated to this stuff quickly approaching! But I digress... Mayonnaise is the ingredient that brings all these things together, without it you're just eating a dry sandwich. Unthinkable!
Sitting down to a BLT is such a tasty and simple experience. It's almost humbling in a strange way; it's not fancy, it's not fussy but it's always delicious.
I think it's time to enjoy a BLT ASAP!