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Dreaming of the Perfect BLT

Apparently summer is here, which means it's time to start the hunt for the perfect rendition of the greatest summer sandwich of all time: the BLT. Every season, when tomatoes start to perk up, my BLT craving kicks into overdrive. Yet stellar renditions are scarce, even though the sandwich is so simple its name is its recipe. In fact, I've never encountered a BLT better than those I make at home.

Here's what I'm looking for.

Bacon: thick cut, smoky, salty, high-quality, cured swine cooked to a crunchy texture so sublime it invokes potato chips, perfect baguettes and other crumbly things that end up in your lap.

Lettuce: crisp neutral roughage that explodes into a watery coolness as you crush it with your teeth. Freshness is paramount, and lowly iceberg, typically relegated to terrible salad bars and wedge salads at steakhouses, reigns supreme.

Tomato: the whole reason we wait till summer for the perfect BLT. Through the late fall, winter and early spring, grocery store tomatoes tease us with orbs that over promise with their crimson skins, and then under deliver dry cottony interiors. Without an absolutely stellar example at the height of it's season you're better off just eating a bacon sandwich.

The bread must be sturdy. When you find all the right ingredients you'll want to use them with reckless abandon. A simple slice of white bread is no match for a sandwich that holds an entire tomato cut into slices as thick as your palm. Find a rustic round of sour dough from a good local bakery and cut the bread into thick slices.

Your finished sandwich should stand at least 10 inches tall. It should take purposeful compression and great dexterity to manage even a first bite. Halfway through consumption, mayonnaise-logged tomato slices should slide out the sides and back of the sandwich. Tomato juice and seeds should run down your elbows.

A sandwich this good should be eaten with great enthusiasm and voracity, preferably over a kitchen sink. I don't think a single BLT has ever made it out of my kitchen.


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