I could talk about BLTs all day long, and my all time favorite variation includes lacquering the bacon with good maple syrup and lots of black pepper, making it spicy and sweet at the same time. I will admit that the beauty of this sandwich can't truly be enjoyed until summer when the bestest, fattest, juiciest tomatoes are available, so it doesn't really coincide with maple season, but it's still my favorite use of the stuff, bar none. —Erin Jeanne McDowell
Maple Lacquered Bacon
good maple syrup (approximate)
lots of freshly ground black pepper
soft salted butter, as needed
slices thick wheat bread (or sourdough or ciabatta rolls)
Lay a silpat on a baking sheet, and spread the bacon out on top of it. Use a pastry brush to glaze the bacon (on both sides) with maple syrup. Be generous and be warned: your hands will be sticky (worth it).
Use a coarse grinder to grind lots of black pepper on the bacon. I give it a whole lot - almost like pepper crusted maple lacquered bacon. You can do less, but definitely do some!
Transfer the baking sheet to a 400 degree oven and cook until the fat begins to render out of the bacon and the maple has begun to caramelize. At this point, I usually drain the fat off and re-glaze with a little more syrup. You don't want the bacon fat to dillute the mapley flavor. Keep cooking until the bacon is crisp and candied.
Spread the butter generously over the bread, and toast on a hot griddle until nicely browned and toasted on both sides.
Spread mayonnaise or garlic aioli on half the slices of bread, and place a leaf of lettuce and a slice of tomato on top. Season the tomato with lots of salt and pepper. Add some onion, if using.
Place the bacon on top of the tomato and top with another slice of bread. Then eat that sucker.
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, The Book on Pie, is out on November 10th, 2020.