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BLT Variations For National BLT Sandwich Month

Crab Salad BLT
[1] This BLT has a layer of spicy crab salad. Here’s the recipe (photo © Olive Magazine).

Grilled Pineapple BLT
[2] Grill pineapple and add siracha mayo. Here’s the recipe (photo © Half Baked Harvest).

Lobster BLT
[3] A lobster club on a toasted roll. Here’s the recipe (photo © Fish The Dish).

Fried Green Tomato BLT
[4] A fried green tomato BLT with arugula. Here’s the recipe (photos #4 and #5 © Food & Wine).

Fried Egg BLT
[5] Add a fried egg: It’s trending! Here’s the recipe.

  The BLT is one of America’s favorite sandwiches. It has engendered many BLT variations, from the BLAT with avocado, to the BLAST with avocado and smoked salmon.

The sandwich has its own month of celebration—April is National BLT Month—and a single-day celebration, July 22nd, National BLT day.

Here’s the history of the BLT. It was stripped down from the club sandwich, which includes chicken or turkey.

So the taxonomy gets tricky: a chicken BLT is a club sandwich; a lobster BLT is a lobster club sandwich, etc. Is a California BLT (with avocado) actually an avocado club sandwich?

Don’t muddle: just eat!

There’s a bonus recipe for BLT Bites below—the B and L are stuffed into a cherry tomato!
 
 
WAYS TO VARY YOUR BLT

While the classic BLT is simple perfection, think of different ways you might enjoy it. Vary the basic ingredients and you can enjoy a different BLT every day of the yar!
 
Vary The Bacon

  • Bacon jam (buy or make)
  • Black pepper bacon (buy or make from plain bacon)
  • Maple bacon (brush with maple syrup while cooking)
  • Pancetta, guanciale or other type of bacon
  • Pork belly
  •  
    Vary The Lettuce

    We love crunchy romaine, but also:

  • Arugula
  • Bibb or butter lettuce
  • Iceberg (slice it from the head)
  • Red cabbage* (slice it from the head)
  • Watercress
  •  
    …and garnish with some alfalfa sprouts or microgreens.
    ________________

    *Cabbage is not a lettuce, but it provides the crunch of iceberg with more flavor and—if red cabbage—color.
    ________________

    Vary The Tomato

  • Diced tomatoes or chunky fresh salsa
  • Fried green tomatoes
  • Marinated cherry tomatoes or sundried tomatoes
  • Multicolor heirloom tomatoes
  • Tomato tapenade
  •  
    Vary The Mayonnaise

  • Baconaise
  • Dijon mayo
  • Garlic mayo (aïoli)
  • Herb mayo with dried or fresh herbs
  • Honey mayo
  • Pesto mayo
  • Russian/Thousand Island dressing
  • Sriracha mayo
  • Other flavors: curry, harissa, etc.
  •  
    Vary The Bread

    Beyond the white toast, consider:

  • Baguette
  • Brioche
  • Ciabatta
  • Brioche
  • Croissant
  • French toast
  • Multigrain
  • Pita
  • Sourdough
  • Walnut or olive bread
  • Wrap
  •  
    Vary The Format

  • BLT appetizer bites (recipe below)
  • BLT crostata (rustic tart)
  • BLT pasta or pizza
  • BLT salad
  • BLT spring rolls
  • BLT Tea sandwiches
  • BLT Skewers
  •  
    Did we leave anything out?

     
    Add Another Element

  • Avocado/guacamole
  • Caramelized onion, chives, grilled/roasted onion or scallion
  • Cheese (our favorites: crumbled blue, horseradish cheddar, pepperjack, sliced brie or gruyère)
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Fried or sliced egg
  • Grilled pineapple, salmon, shishito peppers, other grilled vegetables
  • Shellfish (crab, lobster, sautéed or fried softshell crab, shrimp)
  • Sliced radish
  •  
    Make A Fusion

  • BLT burger
  • BLT steak sandwich
  • BLT wedge salad
  • Buffalo chicken BLT
  • Chicken salad BLT
  • Grilled cheese BLT
  •  

     

    RECIPE: MINI BLT BITES

    We adapted this recipe from one by Kristen Stevens of The Endless Meal. She made her own chipotle mayo from scratch. Here’s her original sandwich recipe, including the chipotle mayonnaise.

    We happened to have a jar of wasabi mayonnaise from Ojai Cook, which you can also find private-labeled at Trader Joe’s.

    Or, you can stir any seasoning you like into plain mayonnaise, from lemon zest to maple syrup. For heat, stir in cayenne, chile powder, chipotle, or any hot sauce:

    Start with 1/2 cup mayo and 1 teaspoon dried spice. Blend, let sit so the flavors meld, taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary. On to the recipe:

    These BLT bites are fun for cocktails or snacks. Prep time is 20 minutes, and you can do part of it the day before.
     
    You can serve these as hors d’oeuvre with Martinis and other savory drinks, with a beer, as an amuse-bouche†, or as part of the first course of different hors d’oeuvre.

    As with the sandwich, you can change the recipe every time you make it, with different lettuces, different flavors of mayo, and croutons made from different types of bread‡.

    Ingredients For 24 Pieces

  • 24 grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
  • 24 small pieces of lettuce, such as arugula or baby spinach, microgreens, red leaf lettuce
  • ¼ cup crumbled crisp cooked bacon (about 3 pieces)
  • 24 small pieces of bacon for garnish (we cut grilled bacon into 2 or 3 pieces with a scissors)
  • 24 croutons (buy them or make them*)
  •  
    Preparation

    You can complete steps #1 and #2 a day in advance.

    1. CUT a small slice from the bottoms of the tomatoes so they can stand up.

    2. GENTLY squeeze and roll the tomatoes between your fingers to loosen the pulp. Remove with whatever implement works best for you. We found a strawberry corer to work for us.

    3. ASSEMBLE: Add some mayonnaise to each tomato (we put the mayo in a piping bag and piped it in). Then add the pieces of lettuce and bacon bacon. Top with a crouton.
    ________________

    †Amuse-bouche (pronounced ah-MEEZ boosh) is French for “amusing the mouth.” It is an hors d’oeuvre-size portion plated on a tiny dish, sent as a gift from the chef after the order has been placed, but before the food arrives. It is just one bite: a larger portion would constitute an appetizer. Sophisticated home cooks have taken to serving them at the beginning of dinner. Amuses-bouches tend to be complex in both flavors and garniture Here are the differences among amuse-bouche, appetizer, canapé and hors d’oeuvre.

    ‡You can use this recipe, but cut the bread into a size that will fit into the tomatoes.
    ________________
     
     
    MORE UNUSUAL BLT RECIPES

    Cocktails

  • BLT Bloody Mary with bacon vodka
  • BLT Cocktail
  •  
    Not A Sandwich

  • BLT Gazpacho
  • BLT Guacamole Crostini
  • BLT Pancakes
  • BLT Pasta Salad
  • BLT Pizza
  • BLT Polenta
  • BLT Slaw
  • BLT Wafflewich
  • Mini BLT Bites
  •   BLT Bites
    [6] The original mini BLT cups. We added a crunchy crouton to the center (photo © The Endless Meal.

    Wasabi Lemonaise The Ojai Cook
    [7] We used wasabi mayonnaise instead of chipotle mayo (photos #7 and #8 © Ojai Cook).

    Lemonaise Flavors The Ojai Cook
    [8] The different flavors of Lemonnaise.

    Baconaise
    [9] Baconnaise: It’s vegan and kosher, but it really tastes like bacon (photo © J & D’s Foods).

     
     
     
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