Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato. This classic combination has been curing hangovers and filling empty stomachs for decades. Here are a few ways you can take your BLT to the next level, but first, some standard tips that you should always keep in mind when making a BLT:
1. Toast the bread. Always.
2. If you can, cook your bacon in a frying pan instead of the microwave.
It adds crispiness and flavor, and the leftover bacon grease can be useful in flavoring other ingredients or dishes.
3. Try using arugula instead of lettuce.
Instead of the empty crunch that romaine or iceberg provides, arugula adds a subtle pepperiness and is high in antioxidants.
Now, here are some ways to upgrade your BLT:
Upgrade #1 – Avocado BLT
Make it a BLAT! This superfood adds a creaminess that BLTs typically lack and will fill you up.
Upgrade #2 – Add Hummus
A traditional BLT has a touch of mayo, but skip it and opt for this healthier alternative. The hummus will give your BLT a more interesting, smoky Mediterranean flavor while contributing a buttery creaminess that will meld everything together.
Upgrade #3 – Use a Fried Tomato
If your crispy, pan-fried bacon doesn’t add enough crunch for you, substitute the regular tomato for a spiced, fried tomato. Typically, green tomatoes are best for frying, but they tend to be seasonal and difficult to find in grocery stores. Luckily, regular red tomatoes fry the same way and still provide a southern flair. Here’s how to fry one up:
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
2 green (or red) tomatoes
½ cup flour
½ cup cornmeal
Canola or corn oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Slice the tomatoes into ¼ inch-thick slices.
2. Lightly salt the tomatoes, and let sit on a paper towel for about 20 minutes. This will draw a lot of moisture out of the tomatoes to avoid sogginess after frying. Afterwards, pat tomatoes dry. If you’re using red tomatoes, let them sit for an additional 10 minutes.
3. While tomatoes are drying, combine flour, cornmeal and pepper in a bowl.
4. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the egg.
5. Pour oil into a frying pan until it is approximately ¼-inch deep. You don’t want too much oil — again, to avoid sogginess. If you cooked your bacon in a frying pan, add some of that leftover grease to the oil for flavor.
6. Warm oil over medium heat. To test the oil, drop a bit of the flour and cornmeal mixture into the oil, and watch to see if it floats and browns, or sinks to the bottom. If it sinks, the oil is not hot enough yet. The heating process shouldn’t take more than about 5 minutes.
7. Take the dried tomato slices, coat them in the whisked egg and dredge them in the flour and cornmeal mixture. Then, carefully drop them in the oil, one at a time.
8. Let the tomatoes fry for about 2 minutes, or until browned and crispy, then flip. Let the other side fry for another 2 minutes.
9. When finished, let tomatoes sit on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil.
This will make way more fried tomatoes than you need for one BLT, so if you’re cooking for one, only use just enough flour and cornmeal mixture to coat the tomato slices. If you want to stick to the numbers, have some friends over for an afternoon picnic of fancy BLTs!