Reading the Serious Eats Talk thread the other day about creating "The perfect BLT" set my stomach seriously rumbling. I hadn't eaten a good proper BLT in ages, and the 50+ comments were full of opinionated Serious Eaters making the case for their own secrets to success—many ideas of which I agree with (ciabatta bread, adding avocado), and others I don't (honey mustard, untoasted bread). So here's my two cents on the matter.
First, the thickness of the bacon is absolutely paramount. If at all possible, I buy slab bacon and slice it myself, or better yet, make my own bacon. If not slab or homemade, it's got to be the thickest stuff available. I then cook it over very low heat—draining off fat occasionally if necessary—for about 20 minutes so it's very well-browned and crisp, but thick enough to not shatter and remain satisfyingly chewy. Secondly, the mayonnaise has to be homemade—nothing store-bought gives that rich tang I crave. Fortunately, homemade mayonnaise takes less than 2 minutes to whip up.
Though the homemade russet chips alongside this sandwich helped matters along, this sandwich was great on its own.
- 2 slices sturdy white bread, or sliced ciabatta
- 2-3 slices very thick bacon
- 1/2 very ripe beefsteak tomato
- 1 slice romaine lettuce, or a small handful of mesclun greens
- 1/2 avocado, sliced, optional
- For the mayonnaise
- 1 egg yolk
- pinch cayenne
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 cup neutral oil, such as canola, more if needed
- salt to taste
In a small skillet, cook the bacon over low heat, turning occasionally, until well-browned but still slightly chewy, about 20 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, cayenne, lemon juice, dijon, and a pinch of salt. Add a few drops of oil while whisking vigorously (the first drops of oil are essential to starting the emulsion). Add the oil very, very slowly at first, whisking, then more quickly once a good emulsion has happened. Add more oil if needed for the desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and/or more lemon juice.
Lightly toast the bread, slice the tomato, wash the lettuce, and slice the avocado. Slather both sides of the bread with the mayo, add the lettuce and tomato, and carefully salt and pepper the tomato. Assemble with the bacon and optional avocado, and eat.