If we learned anything from our mayonnaise taste test, it’s that people who don’t like mayonnaise, well, really don’t like mayonnaise. If it’s blended into a dressing or hidden in a cake, mabe you can fool ’em. But in a sandwich? Forget about it.
So what’s a BLT to do? This classic American sandwich is as pared down as it gets: Sliced bread, preferably toasted and smeared with mayo. Crispy bacon. Summeriest tomatoes. Crisp lettuce. That’s it.
The mayo doesn’t make it into the acronym, but it plays a crucial role: It brings all the flavors together, like a team huddle. What, then, if you don’t like mayo? I started thinking about what this ingredient brings to the table. If you’ve ever made mayo before, it becomes pretty clear pretty quickly: fat. Mayo is mostly oil, which becomes emulsified, thick, and creamy thanks to egg yolks.
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The more I thought about this, the odder it seemed. Why does a BLT need more richness when it already has bacon? Why do we need to call in outside oil when we’re already rendering a bunch of fat? Why not use that bacon fat instead of mayo?!
THIS STRATA ALSO LOVES BACON
This means we lose the creamy spread, but gain something else entirely: best-ever sandwich toast. After you crisp up the bacon (I prefer a cast-iron, but any large-enough skillet works), drizzle the rendered fat on the bread. Toast in the same pan until it’s golden brown, practically fried in the bacon fat.
You’ll want to eat this just as is and I don’t blame you.
But don’t! We have a sandwich to build. My strategy, from bottom up: bread, lettuce, bacon, tomato, bread. This way, the juicy tomato drips down the rest of the ingredients, like the vinegar to balance all the richness. But between us, it’s just a BLT, and whatever you do will be great.
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.