The BLT is said to have derived from tea sandwiches commonly served in the late Victorian era. The first printed recipes date back to the early 1920s. No matter the origin, BLTs are a ubiquitous American sandwich served in a million restaurants and tens of mkillions of homes.
Mostly, BLTs consist of bacon, lettuce and tomato slices served on toasted white sandwich bread that has been coated inside with mayonnaise. While this traditional fixing is pretty good, I thought I could do much better.
I adapted this recipe from one created by chef Cheryl Burr at Pinkie's Bakery in San Francisco. Her version is great. Mine is better. In this version, the bacon is candied, the tomatoes roasted and cucumbers added for crunch. It also calls for great artisan bread. I suggest using a Ciabatta (Slipper bread) because its flat shape lends itself to grilled sandwiches. This recipe is for one sandwich, but you will likely want to make more or make extra bacon and tomatoes for future use.
Miracle Whip dressing
Freshly ground black pepper
3 Slices Bacon
2 Roma tomatoes
Salt and pepper
2 Romaine lettuce leaves
4 Thin cucumber slices
Cut the Ciabatta into sections the size you want for your sandwich and then slice each section in half. Brush both sides of the bread with melted butter and grill them in a panini press or on a griddle until toasted on both sides. Coat the inside of each bread slice with Miracle Whip that has some freshly ground pepper mixed into it.
Mix together a little brown sugar and paprika. You can use hot, sweet or smoked paprika as you wish. Rub the mix into each slice of bacon. Pre-heat the oven to 425° and bake the bacon strips on a rack set over a drip pan for 15-18 minutes. Drain the bacon on paper towels.
Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and gel. Place then on a baking sheet, drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 15 minutes. You can do this at the same time you cook the bacon.
Assemble the sandwich, in the following order: bread, lettuce leaf, bacon, tomatoes, cucumber slices, lettuce leaf, bread. Put it into the panini press for a minute to warm it up if you wish.
Here is a tip: If you rinse bacon in cold water before cooking it, it won't shrink as much.