Pro Tips for the Perfect BLT

Once summer hits, the only thing I ever want to eat is a BLT.  Honestly I probably eat three a week from May to August and never regret it.  Because of my years of experience, I’ve developed a few pro tips for this seemingly simple sandwich that will truly elevate it to a whole new level!

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-Cook your bacon on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes depending on if your a crispy or a chewy bacon fan.  You can flip it once if you really want to.  I first learned this method while working as a line cook and have never looked back.  There are so many reasons to do it this way, but here are just a few:  more even cooking, no splatters to clean up, zero time spent babysitting.

-Continuing that line of thought, invest in decent bacon.  You don’t have to go all out here, but a thicker cut of bacon will really make all the difference to your BLT.

-Buy an heirloom tomato.  During the summer time, these are readily available at any and all farmers markets, but you can also pick them up (at a much higher cost) at most grocery stores.

-And sandwich that tomato between the lettuce and the bacon to avoid soggy bread. Don’t let soggy bread happen to you.

-Make mayonnaise from scratch.  Really.  You can do this, I promise!  And once you add lemon zest and garlic and basil, you can call it aioli, and all of your friends will be totally impressed by your culinary skills.  Also, you’ll want to eat it on everything, because it’s incredible.

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Basil Aioli

-1 egg yolk

-juice and zest of 1 lemon

-1/4 tsp dried mustard (1/2 tsp regular yellow mustard can be substituted)

-1 tsp white vinegar

-1 pinch salt

-1 pinch white sugar

-1 cup canola oil

-1 garlic clove, minced

-1/2 cup basil, minced

-salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together the egg yolk, juice of HALF of the lemon, white vinegar, mustard, salt, and sugar until well combined.  Next you’re going to start adding the canola oil, drop by drop while continuously whisking.  The easiest way to do this is to have the canola oil in something with a spout, like a measuring cup.  You should see an emulsion forming, as the mixture should be turning thicker and lightening in color.  Once you are down to half a cup of oil, stop and add the juice of the other half of lemon.  Whisk to combine and keep adding your oil.  You can go a little faster this time, pouring it in a thin stream, still whisking away.  Once all of your oil is added, it’s time to add your lemon zest, minced garlic, basil, salt, and pepper.  Taste, taste, taste. *Using these same steps this can be made in a Vitamix or Ninja as well.

One thing I always find interesting, is that often the flavors don’t pop right away.  It’s important to remember to add a bit more salt or lemon to pull your seasoning out of the aioli and really brighten it up–you’ll know when you have it just right, and trust me, you’ll love it!

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