You can keep your Daube de Boeuf, your Oeufs Meurette, and your Salmon Dijonnaise; nothing floats my boat like a well-constructed BLT. In my book, a BLT is the perfect food.
One of the things that’s so utterly awesome about a BLT is that the ingredient checklist is built right in. When you find yourself staring into the refrigerator at around noon on a Saturday wondering what to have for lunch, you can easily ask yourself these simple three questions: Do I have the B? Do I have the L? And do I have the T? If the answers are yes, then your lunch decision is already made.
I’m trying to conjure up a few subtle nuances as to why one approach to a BLT might be better than another, but the fact is I don’t think you can truly mess one up. Baring some major run-in with, say, an organic vegan mayonnaise, or (gasp!) healthy, whole-grain bread, I’ve never met a BLT I didn’t like. Maybe it’s nice to have really-super-special-delicious-artisan-crafted-bacon on hand, but honestly any ole’ rasher of bacon is perfectly majestic atop an oozy puddle of Hellman’s (or Best Foods for those west of the Rocky’s), a good-looking slab of tomato and a few flaps of non-wilted lettuce.
The perfect BLT is as much about enjoying its prep-work as it is about anything else: the fending off of the greedy bacon-stealing passersby, the layering up of ingredients, the licking of the fingers, the two-handed press-down and gentle crunch beneath the bread, the determined wiggle of the knife as the finished sandwich is cleaved in two, the final fishing out of the briny pickle.
Like the photo album keeper or the fire starter or the wine buyer in the family, there is usually one official household BLT maker. At The Muddy Kitchen, that job is my husband’s. His elegant prep work is nothing short of an intimate ménage à quatre among man and his foodstuffs. I’m not sure there’s a secret to his craft, or merely the love of it that makes his BLTs so good. Where there is a BLT will, there is a way.
THE PERFECT BLT
2-3 pieces of crispy cooked bacon, ideally really-super-special-delicious-artisan-crafted
1 generous squeeze of Honest-to-Gawd mayonnaise (nothing labelled “all natural” or “lite” or “anything-free”)
1 thick slab of tomato
1 layer of iceberg lettuce (or backup greenery of your choice)
1 white bread encasement (pita bread, English muffin, Wonder Bread, or Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day)
1 ice cold bottled bubbly beverage, cap off (root beer, Guinness Stout, Diet Coke, creme soda, or similar)
1 Jew Pickle (sliced or left whole as needed)
1. Assemble ingredients on cutting board. Remain suspicious of those mysteriously gathered around and eying up bacon. Layer ingredients sensibly (bread on outside, mayo on inside, etc etc). Sip beverage. Eat extra pickle. Remain focused. Stay alert. 2. Start second BLT for wife who has already eaten lunch but is now regretting her choice, ravenous and batting eyelashes. 3. Give third BLT to oldest child, also now ravenous despite earlier stack of French toast. 4. Make remainder of bacon. Sip more beverage. Fish out additional pickle and take bite of BLT generously offered by wife. Open additional bubbly beverage. Give away other BLT to younger child. Strategize. 5. Scrounge last bits of bacon leftover on stove and guard with life. Defrost and toast the last remaining English Muffin on the planet. Assemble with the final flourish of mayo, remaining edge of tomato and last few shards of lettuce. 6. Sit on couch, finally. Turn on TV. Exhale. Put feet up. Eat.
Take your shoes off before you come in here!