Big Little Recipes

You'll Either Love or Hate This Sandwich. (We Love It.)

May  5, 2020
Photo by Ty Mecham

A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big everything else: flavor, creativity, wow factor. Psst—we don't count water, salt, black pepper, and certain fats (specifically, 1/2 cup or less of olive oil, vegetable oil, and butter), since we're guessing you have those covered. Today, we’re making a BLT, but without the T.

BLT sandwiches are so straightforward, no ingredient can hide. After all, there are only five, three of which are in the very name. So tell me, what’s your approach:

Should the bread be soft or toasted? The bacon chewy or crackly? The lettuce tender or crunchy? The mayo homemade or Hellman’s? And, honestly, do you even need tomatoes?

Seriously, though. I realize that tomatoes put the "T" in a BLT. That they add peak rosiness, juiciness, and sweetness, which lets you know exactly what time of year it is.

But all the same could be said of strawberries. Which, might I add, are available months before tomatoes.

What beautiful tomatoes! Oh wait. Photo by Ty Mecham

If you’re raising your eyebrows at strawberries in a savory situation, think of it this way: Tomatoes are a fruit; strawberries are a fruit. Tomatoes are red, juicy, sweet; strawberries are red and juicy and sweet. Tomatoes are delicious; strawberries are delicious.

Savory bacon need not be convinced of this sweeter partner. It already loves being candied with maple syrup, or tossed with sweet corn and pasta.

After taking a bacon-lettuce-strawberry test drive (my chicken-scratch tasting notes read, “pretty good!!!!”), I asked my coworkers what they thought about a BLR BLT BLS: Would you eat this sandwich? And, as ever, my coworkers are down to try anything.

Many thumbs-up emojis followed. “I am into this,” Danielle Curtis-Williams, our marketing coordinator and resident bacon aficionado, said. “Would definitely try it,” our co-founder, Amanda Hesser, another bacon fan, agreed. Admittedly, there was one hard pass from our managing editor, Brinda Ayer—but does it count if she’s vegetarian? “I would not try this due to my ways of life, but am in support of this.” I’ll take it!

Unlike tomatoes, which get sliced and sandwiched immediately, strawberries do appreciate one extra step (don’t worry, it takes, give or take, two seconds). After halving—or quartering if they’re gigundo—season them with a pinch of salt and pepper, and let sit while the bacon crisps.

Much like how sugar macerates fruit, salt amplifies the strawberries’ strawberry-ness and draws out their juices, which mingle with the mayo to become a pseudo-dressing. And the pepper underscores that this is a savory sandwich with a sweet twist—not the other way around.

If you love the result as much as I do, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an easier, breezier lunch or dinner. And if nothing else, it’s a ripe excuse to start BLT season a couple months earlier. You know, even if it isn’t, technically speaking, a BLT.

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Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.


Judy B. July 10, 2020
Must hurry to the store to buy some strawberries and bacon! Sounds great! Also like the idea of putting the bread into the pan of bacon fat to crisp up!
Cheray May 12, 2020
I don't eat bacon but I'm thinking I would try a slt aka strawberries, lettuce, tomato with a basil mayonaise.