Post # 201 My Favorite Sandwich of All Time

December 13, 2013 at 2:37 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 201 My Favorite Sandwich of All Time

My partner/spouse, the PhD, and I like to go out to breakfast on the weekends.  We search out the divest of the dives that we can find.  Conversely, we also look for locally owned spots, neighborhood joints that are a secret to everyone outside of a few blocks.  Since we’ve been here, we’ve found several that we like, but our favorite is a very successful local chain called Beyond Bread.  At its core, it’s a bakery and it specializes in bread.  But when you walk in, you’re in breakfast heaven.  They have all kinds of pastries, rolls, buns, etc. as well as a huge selection of breakfast items and everyday sandwiches.  They make the best BLT I’ve ever had.  And I’ve had a few.

The humble BLT is a delight.  Everyone knows it’s crispy fried bacon, fresh crisp and cooled lettuce, and ripe juicy tomatoes layered on toast with or without mayo.  (My personal preference is without mayo.  If the tomatoes are juicy, you don’t miss the spread.)  But within those parameters, the options are limitless.  On so many of the cooking shows I watch, the BLT has been “reinvented” a buncha buncha times.  I’ve seen the B reinvented as Lobster.  I’ve seen the L reinterpreted as Cole Slaw.

The defining element in a BLT is the B, the bacon.  Bacon comes in so many varieties, it’s hard to know what to use.  The thinner the bacon, the crispier it’s going to be when fried.  However, the flavor of the bacon is changed by the way it’s cured.  If it’s smoked, the flavor of the smoke gets into the bacon and makes it a wondrous delight.  The curing process and the salt used can have an effect on the flavor.  We tried every type of bacon we could get our hands on over several months before we settled on our favorite.  It’s a thick cut, apple wood smoked, brand name escapes me that we get at Sam’s Club at $10 for 4 pounds.  It fries up sizzling hot, crispy, and tasty.   The best.  But it took weeks of forcing ourselves to eat bacon to find the right one.

The vegetables are just as important.  You can use any fresh tomato you have but please be sure to use only ripe juicy tomatoes.  Anything else will disappoint you.  The rich tomato flavor won’t be able to cut through the bacon.  It doesn’t really matter what kind of tomato you use, although I haven’t had a lot of luck with the smaller varieties, cherry, grape, etc.  For the lettuce, you really can use any kind, just don’t shred it.  Use whole or half leaves.  Shredding the lettuce causes it to release water making a soggy sandwich, as well as messy when you bite into it since the shreds fall out or hang out of your mouth making you look like a cow eating grass.  To my way of thinking, the two best lettuces to use are iceberg (that standard round head of lettuce that most people reach for), or romaine (the long leafed lettuce used primarily for Ceaser Salad.)  Both stay crispy when chilled, and stay crispy for a long time.  It’s the crunch factor in the sandwich and is delectable.

The bread holds the package together and you can use whatever bread you want.  I’ve made BLT wraps with flour tortillas.  I’ve used plain bagels to make a meal.  I’ve had BLTs with thick-cut rustic bread.  I’ve made BLTs with my homemade sandwich rolls.  I’ve used plain old store-bought white bread.  I’ve used or eaten practically every bread imaginable.  They’ve all been good.  My favorite is plain bagels.  My second favorite it thick slices of rustic bread.  I know people who define their food so narrowly that if they don’t have sesame seeds on the bun, they won’t eat the burger.  For my case, I won’t eat a PBJ unless the peanut butter is creamy, at room temperature, and I have grape jam that’s fresh from the fridge.  But a BLT, I’ll eat that nearly anyway I can get it.

A close cousin to the BLT is the Club Sandwich which is basically a double decker BLT with extra stuff in it.  It’s good, and I’ll eat them often, as long as they have bacon.   I also eat a lot of other bacon inspired sandwiches, like the basic breakfast sandwich, baconeggandcheese.  Some places like to dress up their BLTs by adding extra stuff like guacamole, or using “exotic” ingredients like mango, or “premium” ingredients like Black Forest Ham.  I’ve tried them, but always come back to just the plain old BLT.

I’ve heard that more vegetarians backslide on bacon than anything else.  I can understand why.

I used to work in an office building with a cafeteria on its first floor.  There was a sandwich station which made the big fat hefty sandwiches on whatever bread you chose.  For a long time, one of their selections was the BLT.  Now, the ladies who worked the sandwich station were all friendly, smiling ladies, anxious to make your sandwich the way you wanted it.  (They had a killer egg salad, by the way, that usually sold out thirty minutes after opening.)  English was not their first language, but they seldom had any difficulty communicating with their customers.  However, they had a script they followed to make certain they offered their customers all the options available.  I always smiled and laughed to myself when, after ordering the BLT, they inevitably asked “Would you like lettuce and tomato with that?”

That just sort of defines a BLT, doesn’t it?  Enjoy!




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