Monday 6 September 2010


Everyone loves a good BLT, and I’m sure there are a few interesting takes on the classic. I have quite a few: BLT with a healthy spreading of Philly; BLT with dried onions; BLT with mustard and mayo; BLT with a generous dollop of Nando’s sauce…. But this is all dependent on what’s in the fridge really. It’s good to improvise I find. A good veggie take is Baco Bits instead of actual bacon… it’s surprisingly yummy, but nothing compared to real bacon. I have sampled a lot of bought BLTs and none come close to Pret’s. I think it’s the generous filling that does it for me. The equal amount of bacon to tomato and lettuce and the creamy mayo all in between two wholegrain multi seeded buttered slices. I also recommend Madison’s (New Cross). They have a “special BLT” which has the addition of coleslaw, and if you ask, red onion too. The problem with shop bought BLTs is that they tend to use streaky bacon, and as crispy as it is, it’s not as good as a proper rasher of salty, meaty, porkyness. A nice rasher of bacon gives a fullness to the sandwich, so a home made BTL wins hands down, any day for me. It’s something that I think requires a bit of time and dedication. So before my cousin’s engagement do on Sunday, I knocked up a few hearty sandwiches to see us through the day. It didn’t help with getting into our saris, but it kept us content till dinner.

The four essential ingredients: Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, and the Bread, have to be of reasonably good quality. I used free range, beechwood smoked English dry cures back rashers, from Hampshire Bores. Their meat is known for its tenderness and taste. I got my tomatoes and gem lettuces from the local farm shop. The multi seed bread was bought the day before from our local baker. It really isn’t very expensive to ensure the use of good quality food, it just requires a bit of effort and it’s well worth it in the end. My additions were: Camembert cheese, shallots in balsamic vinegar, oxford sauce and mayonnaise. Oxford sauce is difficult to describe. It’s a little bit like HP sauce, but not really. It goes well with mayo. The BLT works well, cause it has the saltiness from the bacon, the crunch from the lettuce, and the tomato acts as a flavour combiner and natural sauce creator. There are so many things that work well with each element of the sandwich that makes combinations limitless. Like cheese, mayo and butter. All quite fatty, but they go well with the salt from the bacon. The freshness of the salad leaves and tomato cut through the salty fattiness, and cleanse the pallet, ready for the next bite. The shallots were caramelised in balsamic vinegar to rid of any acidity and make them a little sweeter. Shallots tend to crisp up a little to, so also add a bit of texture as well as taste.

To cook my bacon, I got my griddle pan out, turned the heat up on the gas, put a little oil in the pan once it got hot, then once it started to smoke, I placed my bacon rashers down. I gave them less then 30 seconds on each side, took then off and placed to sit whilst I got on with toasting my bread. If I were feeling really naughty, I would have got my toasted bread and soaked it in the bacon juices in the pan. But instead of this, I toasted my multi-seeded bread in the grill, then spread on my special oxford-mayo sauce. I then began the stack:

For food porn lovers… here’s a close up….

Right, so I closed the sandwich… sat down with a big cup of tea and took my time over enjoying ever bite. My mother wasn’t very happy, but she’s a vegetarian and got a cream cheese and salad sandwich. “Why are you taking pictures of your sandwich? We’re already running late.” She did have a point. But it was so yummy, I could have had another one… oh well, till the next BLT… Happy Eating!

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