The "crunchy" BLT was the most traditional of all the sandwiches I made - a straightforward BLT, except for the tomatoes themselves, which were tiny, fried heirlooms. The result is a little sloppy to eat, but good and just a little out of the ordinary.
(yield: two sandwiches)
- 4 slices country white bread from Atwaters
- 6 slices bacon
- About 15 baby heirloom tomatoes
- Two big pieces of summer lettuce or romaine
- Homemade mayonnaise (I use Molly Wizenberg's recipe from Bon Appetit)
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup cornmeal
- 1 tbl. Old Bay
- Black pepper
Slice each tomato in half, removing any stem. Toast the bread lightly (or to taste).
Cook the bacon until it's crispy, and set aside as it's done, reserving a few tablespoons of bacon grease. While the bacon's cooking, prep your tomato-coating bowls. You'll need three smallish, shallow bowls. Put the flour in one bowl, the egg in the next, and the cornmeal, Old Bay, and pepper in the third.
Beat the egg. Next, use a fork to mix up the cornmeal, Old Bay and pepper so it's evenly mixed. Arrange the bowls in a row so the cornmeal bowl is closest to the frying pan with the bacon grease, the egg is in the next bowl, and the flour is farthest away. Now comes the messy part.
Working in small batches of about five, toss the tomato halves in flour, shaking off any excess, coat them in egg, then coat them in the cornmeal mixture, making sure they're evenly coated, but again, shaking off any excess.
Once each batch of tomatoes is coated, fry it in the reserved bacon grease over medium to medium-high heat until the coating is golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes, give or take a few. When each batch is done, place it on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
When all the tomatoes are cooked, construct the sandwiches. For each sandwich, cover one slice of bread with mayonnaise then carefully place the tomato halves face down on the bread. Top with 3 slices of bacon, the lettuce, and the other slice of bread. Slice in half and enjoy!