Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tomato Bacon Sandwich

No, it’s not a typo. It’s not a BLT. It’s a tomato bacon sandwich. And since tomatoes are the star of this sandwich, they get top billing.

There are only 4 ingredients in this recipe, but the possibilities are endless. I grew up on bacon, lettuce tomato sandwiches. They had the standard white bread (we never ate wheat in my family while we were growing up), the obligatory 3 or 4 slices of bacon (usually Oscar Mayer) and a couple of slices of tomato, nothing fancy or heirloom, just a hothouse tomato. Nothing memorable, but good.

My husband introduced me to bacon/tomato sandwiches. Toasted honey wheat bread slathered in mayo with a bunch of bacon and tomato slices. No wilting lettuce to worry about or to take away from the bacon tomato bite. Just a big ole juicy sandwich that required a lot of napkins.

I have now perfected the tomato bacon sandwich using the following techniques. I hope you will try some of these variations and let me know what you think. I would also be interested in what kind of sandwich you enjoy. One chapter in my book is on wraps, pannini’s and sandwiches.

I follow the same rules for every sandwich I make. It’s all about the BREAD. I could live on bread alone. I’m a carboholic! I go out of my way to try bread from anywhere. I go nuts in Europe, mostly France and Italy over the bread and pastries….I even gave serious thought to ordering a loaf of Poilane French Bread ( this special baker in Paris, but found out the cost of the bread and shipping was over $80.00. I could not justify that, but almost tried.

For this sandwich, I prefer an artisan loaf of country or farm bread. Sometimes it’s called peasant bread. If I can not find that bread I’ll settle for a fresh sourdough. It is available everywhere these days, in fact, Publix makes a pretty good loaf. Panera and Whole foods also has great bread choices. I usually do not have the bread sliced, as I prefer to slice at home. If I’m going to make a triple-decker, I usually cut the middle piece a little thinner than the outside pieces. It’s all in the construction of the sandwich. But once I have chosen my bread, I move on to bacon.

I like most Bacon, but have been buying the uncured thick sliced. I usually find this at a specialty market. But everyday bacon is o.k. and even turkey bacon is good, but it definitely changes the flavor. For 2 triple-decker sandwiches, I usually allow 6 slices per person. I fry my bacon on a griddle. Some people I know prefer micro-waving or baking their bacon. I drain the slices on paper towel and set aside.

The tomatoes are the best part. Of course, I pick what it’s my garden first. I love a mixture of red, green and yellows. I slice each tomato pretty thin, because I hate to bite into a sandwich and have the tomato slice slip out the other side. A thin slice prevents that from happening. I barely salt and pepper each slice of tomato. I usually allow 3-4 slices per double-decker, depending on the size of the bread and the size of the tomato. I have been known to slice a tomato into pieces so every inch of bread is covered with a tomato bite…did I tell you that I love tomatoes!

I only use light mayo. I prefer Kraft, but any kind will work. Sometimes I add chopped basil to the mayo, depends on the mood.

For a standard tomato bacon sandwich here is the blueprint:

3 slices of honey wheat sandwich bread, or artisan farm, ciabatta, or sourdough bread (sliced into ½ inch slices)

4 slices of tomato (see pic for thickness) and use summer ripe tomatoes when possible

6 slices of crisp bacon

3 ½ teaspoons of light mayo

Toast bread on light to medium setting. Do not over-toast. Bread should be done when it begins to turn golden. Spread 1 teaspoon of mayo on bread. Top with 2 slices of tomato and 3 slices of bacon. Spread another teaspoon of mayo on next slice of bread and put that slice on top of bacon tomato. Then spread another teaspoon of mayo on top of that piece and layer remaining tomato and bacon slices. Spread last piece of toast with remaining mayo and top sandwich. Push down to firmly secure sandwich and cut in half diagonally. (see pic).

Serve with chips and a glass of milk. (This is the way my husband likes to eat it)

Variations that you must try:

Add slices or ripe avocado to any layer
Add slices of turkey to any layer
Try spreading soft Gorgonzola to the top slice of bread instead of remaining mayo, YUM.
Melt 1 slice of white cheddar on the middle layer and then build sandwich up from there
Add chopped basil to mayo
Add chopped seeded tomatoes to mayo for a double tomato delight

*In the August copy of Martha Stewart Living magazine, there is a great article on heirloom seed harvesting. I think I’m going to try this.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

Bacon and tomato sandwiches are one of my favorites! I am really looking forward to the perfectly ripe local field tomatoes for sandwiches.