Once upon a time I knew a Greek gentleman who owned a 'fish and chip shop'. Some people thought of it as more of a 'hamburger joint' or 'steak house', while others referred to it lovingly as a 'greasy spoon'. The owner was a humble and kindly fellow, who worked hard, loved to philosophise, and was proud of the food and beverages that he served in what he referred to as his 'coffee lounge'.
When my parents were still alive, they'd visit him on a Friday and order a plate of fish and chips. The serve was large enough to feed two and they enjoyed it so much! A few years later, I began working on site as the manager of the shopping centre where this fellow had his cafe. Sometimes, I'd buy a steak from one of the nearby butcher shops, take it to my friend and he'd cook it for me, then serve it with some of his wife's home made horiatiki salata. It was good and gave me the chance to enjoy a quiet meal away from my office and the constant interruptions of what was an insanely busy job.
My friend was particularly pleased with his egg and bacon burgers, mostly because he sourced fine quality bacon. He was right, the bacon was indeed tasty and needed to be showcased. One day as I ate my lunch and we were chatting about life and family, I suggested that he consider adding a B-L-T to his menu. 'A B-L-T, Lizzy? he questioned, with wide eyes. 'What is this B-L-T?' So I told him all about the B-L-T and explained how he should make it. To my delight, he tried it, added it to the menu and, of course, it was a runaway success. The rest is history.
Now I don't know what ever became of this gentleman after I moved on, but I do know that he sold his coffee lounge. I hope that he has managed to retire, somewhere with a deliciously salty ocean view. Had he still owned a coffee lounge, I might have suggested that he try my latest rendition of a BLT. I think he would have liked it very much.
My recipe for the ultimate BLT...
I've taken the liberty of calling my recipe 'The Ultimate BLT' simply because this is no ordinary BLT. The bread is not toasted (till dry) as with 'ordinary' BLTs. Let me explain, sometimes when you eat a BLT, the bread is so dry it scratches the inside of your mouth and throat. And then you start coughing and crumbs go everywhere, and, well you know, it's just not so pleasant. Not so, with this version of BLT. The fresh bread is simply buttered and then pan grilled on one side to golden brown! See, it's all in the cooking! And then there's the addition of smoked salt and pepper, which are used to season the tomatoes once sliced. Enjoy xox
THE ULTIMATE BACON LETTUCE AND TOMATO SANDWICH (BLT) A LA LIZZY
4 slices freshly baked white bread*
2 vine ripened tomatoes
1 cup fresh mixed salad greens, rinsed, patted dry
4 slices smoked bacon (remove the rinds if they're chewy)
freshly ground black pepper
smoked sea salt
good quality butter, at room temperature
Cook the bacon in a hot frypan until it is well browned, but not too crisp. Cut the bacon slices in half, then set them aside and keep them warm. Slice the tomatoes neatly and season them with the freshly ground black pepper and the smoked salt.
Meanwhile, heat a cast iron grill pan or griddle to smoking point. Place the bread on the grill, buttered side down and toast until golden brown. (Note, do not toast the unbuttered side). Remove the bread and keep warm.
Assemble the BLT sandwich. Place one slice of bread on a board, toasted side facing down. Place four pieces (two slices) of bacon onto the bread, then top with the salad greens, then the seasoned tomato. Finally, place the second slice of toasted bread on top. Using a sharp knife and sandwich cutting guard, slice the sandwich into two and serve immediately. Makes two BLT sandwiches.
Note: I do not use avocado, sauce or any form of mayonnaise or aioli on my BLT as it tastes great without. That said, feel free to add any of these if you wish. But may I please ask that you try it without before doing so. *Buy from a baker, not cheap and nasty supermarket bread... or bake it yourself.
Chris and Cathy, this is for you. Thank you for your kindness over the years.
Sink your teeth into my BLT...
Tell me dear readers, do you enjoy BLT sandwiches? Do you happen to have a favourite fish and chip shop, hamburger joint or greasy spoon in your part of the world? Thank you for taking the time to pop in and comment.
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.