This morning I took advantage of the cool weather and headed off to the farmer’s market in search of my favorite summertime fruit. No, not for strawberries or the variety of stone fruits which are so abundant right now, nor for the figs which are beginning to make their appearance, but rather… heirloom tomatoes. Having tasted my first one a few years ago and after what seems like a bazillion caprese salads later, I now eagerly anticipate the first crop of the season with as much enthusiasm as a child on Christmas morning. As I wound my way through the market, I was pleasantly surprised to discover almost every veggie vendor had an abundance of them on display and available for my culinary pleasure.
If I were to ever have an addiction, it would be for the contents of these baskets of sun-ripened goodness. As I pop them into my mouth one after the other, tasting the tangy, sweet juices as they burst through their taut skins, I can’t help myself. They are my guilty pleasure… garden crack so to speak, and I simply can’t get enough of ’em!
I selected four beauties with the intention of adding some basil from my garden along with a few slices of buffalo mozzarella and with little effort, a delicious lunch would soon be on the table.
After arriving home I had some time to kill before lunch, and as I was reading through all the restaurant postings I follow on Facebook, I came across a status update by Sacramento Bacon Fest and learned that it is BLT week in Sacramento. From July 15th through the 21st, the iconic sandwich is featured in restaurants all around the city. The area chefs use locally sourced ingredients when constructing their signature sandwiches and while one restaurant speciality has braised pork belly, cherry tomato mostarda, sunflower sprouts, smoked bacon aioli on grilled pugliese, another is comprised of layers of applewood smoked bacon, heirloom tomatoes, fried onions, basil, mache, alfalfa, and chive mayo, and yet another tempts my taste buds with thick slices of braised applewood bacon, fried pickled green tomatoes, mixed greens and a spicy bleu cheese aioli!
Bacon… how I luv the stuff although now being somewhat health and diet conscious, I only eat it once in a while and prefer to buy bacon that is uncured and nitrate free. But I digress which shouldn’t be done when discussing bacon. So I’m back to thinking about all things bacon and I recall a scene from the movie “grumpier old men” which my daughter and I would imitate and laugh till we had tears in our eyes, as we cooked up our own “bacon… a whole damn plate!” for many a breakfast.
So with all these thoughts of bacon and inspired by BLT week, I set out to create my favorite of all sandwiches. Fortunately I had all the ingredients on hand and as I sliced the tomatoes and avocado, the heady aroma of bacon roasting in the oven began to spread throughout the kitchen. breathe in, breathe out, breath in, breathe out.
lightly toasted whole grain bread, layered with light mayo, two generous slices of heirloom tomato, oven-roasted applewood smoked (uncured!) bacon… and on the flip side, another slice of lightly toasted whole grain bread, layered with light mayo, a few leaves of bibb lettuce, a generous layer of alfalfa sprouts, and a trio of ripe avocado slices.
- 6-8 thick-cut slices smoked bacon
- 4 slices wheat or white bread
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 4 to 8 tender green lettuce leaves (recommend bibb)
- 1 ripe Hass avocado
- 1/2 cup of alfalfa sprouts (optional)
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1-2 ripe tomates, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- To roast the bacon:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place a wire rack on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon on the rack in a single layer. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, until the bacon is browned and crisp. Remove tray from oven and place bacon on a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Set aside.
- Remove the lettuce leaves from the core, rinse and pat dry.
- Half the avocado and remove pit. In each half, cut 1/2-inch slices and remove each slice from peel. Discard peels. Place slices in a bowl and gently toss with the lemon juice.
- Toast the bread in a toaster and when done, place on a cutting board. Spread each slice of toast with 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise.
- Assemble the sandwiches:
- To one slice of toast, add a layer of 2 to 3 lettuce leaves overlapping each leaf and place 2 tomato slices side by side atop the lettuce. Spread 1/4 cup of the sprouts over the tomatoes and place 3 to 4 avocado slices side by side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place 3-4 slices of bacon on top of the avocado layer. Place slice of toast with mayonnaise side down on the sandwich. Cut in half and serve.