Praline Bacon BLT
When made with a little care, a BLT is a deceptively simple sandwich. You might think, like I did, that a BLT is a throw-together thing, and, for a bare-bones BLT, you might be right. But if you give a little more time and attention to your BLT, you can easily transform it into a great BLT.
The transformation happens at a couple of points. First, the mayonnaise. Simply stirring in a smashed garlic clove – you don’t want huge garlic flavor here, just a touch, which is why you’ll remove the clove before using the mayo – and a squeeze of lemon puts this in aioli territory. Then, the bacon. A little sweetness (brown sugar) and heat (cayenne) give you a subtle praline bacon, not too sweet, but just enough to add interest. The bread should be great white bread (look in the grocery store bakery), toasty and golden on one side only, so that the other side gets squishy with mayonnaise and tomato. And, oh, the tomato gets lightly salted and peppered (simple but key).
All those components make a BLT that is crispy, crunchy, salty, a little sweet, and so drippy that you might want to hang out over the kitchen sink while you eat it.
1 tablespoon good mayonnaise, such as Hellman's or Duke's
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 slices thick-cut bacon
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cayenne
2 slices good white bread, sliced ½-inch thick
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ripe tomato, sliced ¼-inch thick
Pinch kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large leaves iceberg lettuce
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, garlic, and lemon juice. In another small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and cayenne.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, and top that with a wire rack. Lay the bacon on top of the rack and bake for 30 minutes, until it is almost brown. Flip the bacon, then sprinkle it with the brown sugar-cayenne mixture. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, until the bacon is crisp and brown.
Meanwhile, spread 1 side of both slices of bread evenly with butter. Heat a skillet over medium heat, add the bread, buttered side down, and toast for 5 minutes, or until golden. Do not toast the other side of the bread.
Remove the garlic clove from the mayonnaise. Spread the untoasted sides of the bread with the mayonnaise. Top one slice with the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper. Layer the bacon, then the lettuce on top, and cover with the second slice of bread. Cut in half and serve immediately.
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