The BLT is a simple sandwich, but simplicity demands excellence. Each component plays an important role, and maximising the crisp saltiness of the bacon, the crunch of the lettuce and the juicy sweetness of the tomatoes is what makes the sandwich truly magnificent.
In a world where recipe writers seek to maximise both flavour and/or nutritional value, iceberg lettuce does not garner a lot of attention or praise. Though it may not have the peppery bite of arugula or the vitamin content of kale, shredded iceberg actually dominates as a sandwich green.
In her New York Times cooking diary, Chef Clare de Boer shares a tomato tip that amplifies the tomato’s flavour with a little marinade:
Lazy days start with BLTs for breakfast. Luke’s are heaven, and he has two secrets. One: While the bacon is cooking he slices and marinates tomatoes with a splash of red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt. This turns the dreariest tomato into a fantasy of San Marzano. Two: After heavily toasting his bread (plain bagel or a sesame loaf are preferred in our home) he gives it a thick swipe of mayonnaise and follows with olive oil and vinegary tomato juices. Sounds preposterous? It’s perfect.
Not only do you get a more flavorful tomato, you get a bright tomato vinaigrette to drizzle on top. Is it needed for perfect in-season heirlooms? Maybe not, but this tip works particularly well with bland boys, which is great news, because that means you can enjoy delicious BLTs all year round.