This week, I have mainly been eating BLT Sandwiches (borrowing a phrase from The Fast Show). There certainly isn’t a lot that can be said about the BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato) sandwich. They are one of the most popular sandwiches worldwide, so much so that a 160 page cookbook has been written on the subject about the perfect tomato, bacon, bread, etc. This is maybe taking the passion for BLTs a little far, as there are only 5 ingredients for a classic BLT, and a recipe hardly seems necessary, let alone a whole cookbook.
The classic BLT ‘recipe’ comprises of bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and sliced bread. That’s it. Nothing more. Simple. There maybe some discussion on the type of ingredients, but surely some of the many variations such as hollandaise instead of mayonnaise, turkey bacon instead of pork, a fried egg or even cheese are straying from the classic recipe, and though these additions maybe be tasty, the sandwich they help produce cannot be called a BLT.
There is little evidence of BLT sandwich recipes prior to 1900, although the ingredients of the BLT have existed for many years, and it probably evolved from tea sandwiches around the same time as the Club Sandwich evolved (a close ‘cousin’ of the BLT).
Putting arguments of particular ingredients to the side, the secret to a good BLT is
- Firm tomatoes, that are juicy without being mealy. You don’t want the bread to become soggy.
- A few leaves of lettuce, not a whole wedge salad.
- Lightly toasted sliced bread.
- Not too much, but just enough bacon.
All other components / ingredients are purely down to personal taste, and one persons idea of the best BLT sandwich may not appeal to someone else. I personally prefer lightly toasted wholemeal bread with Hellman’s mayonnaise, sliced and de-seeded plum tomatoes, salad greens and grilled streaky bacon, without any added salt or pepper. Also I don’t want an over-stuffed or ‘double decker’ sandwich that is too hard to hold, let alone eat. For me the perfect BLT is a blend of slight crunch, saltiness and juiciness.