Lemons Lemons are one of my favorite flavor enhancers but you need to be careful of the white pith. If you cook the pith, it turns very bitter. Cooking the rind or pulp is fine but never use the pith or seeds. I remember discovering this disturbing fact cooking chicken piccata for the first time. I thought I could enhance the flavor by cooking lemon slices in the sauce but instead I got a bitter taste I couldn't correct with sugar.
My Favorite Pan My favorite pan is a twenty dollar cast iron pan. I remember vividly how my step-father coveted his iron pan and warned us about not using soap to clean it. Seasoned and maintained properly, an iron pan can last forever. It is better than any non stick pan and far more durable. It's thick base holds heat better than any pan in my arsenal and prevents food from burning by dispersing the heat.
Who doesn't love a classic BLT? That crispy bacon, ripe tomato and fresh iceberg lettuce are making my mouth drool right now. And don't forget the copious amounts of mayonnaise that set this BLT off onto a whole 'nother level. With all that tasty oil and fat, it really needs something to cut it. That's why this recipe is about marinading the tomatoes in vinegar and then stacking the components intelligently to achieve the highest return of taste.
Start preparing the tomatoes before the bacon as we want as much vinegar absorption as possible. Slice a ripe tomato at least a quarter inch thick. Place the slices on a plate and drizzle with rice vinegar. Follow with a pinch of salt and pepper for each slice. It's important to season each component to get that flavor explosion.
The hot debate is chewy or crispy bacon. To each his own. I like crispy bacon but use what you like. To get the perfect crispy bacon, use the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Flip two times during the process and you will achieve stellar results. If you want more details, see a previous post called Perfect Bacon.
I prefer the classic BLT but a lotta people like the BLTA so I've prepared both. I've replaced one side with avocado but that's because I love mayo and can eat it right out of the jar... Seriously! Feel free to replace both sides of mayonnaise with avocado. Do make sure to season the avocado with a pinch of salt and pepper. The seasoning will really make the avocado flavor pop more.
The stacking order of a BLT is very important. How the ingredients interact with each other and touch your palette are crucial to maximizing the flavors. The meat is on the first layer so it touches your tongue first, exploding with that smoky and salty pork flavor. I like the marinaded tomatoes next so the juice disperses quickly and the vinegar cuts the pork fat. Lettuce is the top flavor because it really has no flavor, just crunch appeal.
Here's the short version of the order as it would look on a sandwich:
Serve your BLT or BLTA with some salty chips and a sour pickle wedge. The pickle is a perfect pairing for the fatty BLT as it will cut the fat and make it feel lighter. Of course, the marinaded tomato and crispy lettuce also help. The important lesson is remembering how opposites often make great pairings.
Hi John Mark!
It's been a long time and I hope life has treated you well. I'm a full time musician and teacher and having a blast. I cooked in a French restaurant when I was young and still cook formal dinners for non-profit donors. Pretty fun. Send me a mail and let me know how you are doing.