The Ultimate B.L.T. Sandwich
Last week was a funny one. My kids kicked off a new school year and with it came a bumpy transition back into a ‘schedule.’ I use the term schedule loosely because all they had to do was make it through four half-days at school and all I had to do was get everyone up on time and make dinner again. None of us made it through the week without a hiccup or two.
I planned an elaborate back-to-school dinner on the eve of the first day, but we got held up at the school open house and by the time we made it home the dinner (which I had left out) was spoiled. The next night, which happened to also be our wedding anniversary, I made a miscalculation on cooking time and the roast I put in my instant pot was chewy, dried out and completely tasteless. Thank goodness for takeout. Thank goodness for a good-natured family.
As we rounded into the weekend it was time to redeem myself. I sat down with our family calendar and a big stack of cookbooks and outlined two weeks of easy, quick, uncomplicated dinners. We have soccer and basketball in the evenings and I’m sure homework, spelling and school projects in the not-too-distant future. Dinner needs to be simple and hopefully edible. Delicious would be the cherry on top.
Because we can’t live on take-out and cold cereal forever and the beautiful heirloom tomatoes growing in my garden are ready to eat, nothing sounded better than a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. A batch of quick beer bread full of cheddar, bacon and chives makes these sandwiches so special. The bread mixes together in one bowl and takes just a few minutes to throw together. Of course, you can skip this step and use whatever bread you like. Sourdough or a pillowy loaf of French bread would both be lovely.
Once the bread is ready, you know the drill. Layer bacon, garden tomatoes, lettuce and avocado between the bread and slather it with mayonnaise. For an extra-special touch make the lemon dill mayonnaise at the bottom of the recipe. You can use it all week long, jazzing up regular turkey sandwiches.
Sharp Cheddar, Bacon and Chive Beer Bread
Nonstick cooking spray
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
4 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 ½ cups light or amber beer (Corona works really well)
¾ cup shar cheddar, shredded or cubed
¾ cup crumbled bacon (use pre-cooked or it’s the equivalent of about 5 pieces of cooked bacon)
¼ cup chives, minced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper. Stir in beer until a dough forms. Gently mix in cheddar, bacon and chives.
Transfer the dough to the loaf pan and place on the center rack of the oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the dough comes out clean. The top should be golden brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cut into ½ inch slices.
Ultimate Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich
12 pieces center-cut bacon
3 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced and sprinkled with kosher salt and black pepper
2 ripe avocados, flesh removed and sliced thinly
Lemon dill mayonnaise (recipe below)
Loaf of cheddar, bacon and chive bread, sliced and toasted
Kosher salt and black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and line bacon evenly on the tray. Cook the bacon in the oven for about 12 to 15 minutes until the bacon is cooked through and crispy. Remove from oven and place bacon on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up excess grease.
To assemble sandwiches, toast slices of bread. Spread lemon dill mayonnaise on one slice of bread. On the other slice of bread layer slices of avocado and tomato. Salt and pepper the tomatoes. Layer on lettuce and two slices of bacon. Top with the lemon dill mayonnaise bread and lightly press the sandwich together. Repeat as necessary. One loaf of bread should make between 6 and 8 sandwiches depending on how thinly the bread is sliced.
Lemon Dill Mayonnaise
½ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon fresh dill, minced
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of salt
In a small bowl gently combine mayonnaise, dill, parsley, garlic and a pinch of salt. Squeeze the lemon over the mayonnaise and stir until well-combined. Store extras in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for 3-5 days.