BLT - The Ultimate Summer Sandwich - Recipe

I've been thinking about home a lot lately. My FaceBook page is full of photos of flood water and tales of life with no water in my home town of Ames, Iowa. Check out this link for more information. It's strange to be here in Indiana where there are no rivers to flood. We are right on the divide where the water runs to the Great Lakes or down to the Mississippi. The best we've got are tiny creeks. Iowa is defined by rivers.  It sits between the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.  However, the growing season here in Indiana feels very Midwest and the dearth of tomatoes is familiar.

We decided we had to make some BLTs. My mother makes them every July and August.  It's the ultimate summer sandwich; so simple and delicious. And only really worth making if you have grown your own tomatoes or picked up some local ones at the farmer's market. I'm happy to discover that it's not just an Iowa tradition. The lady at the meat market informed Jeff she's been selling lots of bacon "because of all the tomatoes." I would hope anywhere tomatoes grow that bacon lettuce and tomato sandwiches are eaten.

BLTs are such a simple sandwich that you must have good ingredients. We buy our meat from a local place simply called "The Beef Market". They sell more than just beef. They sell organic, free range chickens, locally grown, butchered and processed meat. And they make their own brats. Those brats are amazing and a whole other post. They also have excellent bacon. So we got a half pound of bacon.

You might be wondering: aren't you a vegetarian?  No, actually, I'm not.  I do believe in eating responsibly and low on the processed food chain.  We eat meat a couple times a month at most and not in great quantity.  BLT's are a special treat, but not outside my food mantra (which you can read more about here if you like). 

The lettuce, sorry to say came from a regular old grocery.  The farmer's market just doesn't have local lettuce right now. It's too darn hot. That's okay, it was fresh and dark green and that's the basic requirements of lettuce.

The tomatoes are from the estate garden. I work at an arboretum and garden and the founders live right next door. I share an office with their estate horticulturist and she is nice enough to share the abundance of the kitchen garden with the staff. I will never want for tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs or green beans as long as I work there. The beefsteak and roma tomatoes are just coming on but the cherry tomatoes have been producing for quite awhile. So that's what we used on our BLTs.

To keep the house cool we made the bacon on the Forman grill. It also conveniently collects the bacon grease so I can use it in other dishes, like curry or pizza sauce. Jeff made the bread earlier in the day. Fresh bread is twice as delicious as store bought.

I love that BLTs are minimum work and time for such a mouth watering meal.

Classic BLTs - Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwiches

4 slices fresh bread
2 tomatoes sliced thick
4 large lettuce leaves
1/4 cup mayonnaise
4 strips bacon

Step 1: Fry up your bacon until it is the desired crispiness. Meanwhile toast your bread and slice the tomatoes.

Step 2: Stacking your BLT is crucial. If you do it right the sandwich won't fall apart as much when being eaten. Start by smearing both pieces of toast with mayo. Then place the tomato on one piece of toast and the bacon on the other. Then put the lettuce on top of the tomatoes and put your two halves together. The mayo will help hold the tomatoes and bacon in place so they don't slide out. The lettuce should be large enough pieces that friction will keep them in place while you chow down.

Step 3: Serve and enjoy your BLTs with other summer classics like peaches, corn on the cob, slices of cucumber or fresh berries. A bowl of ice-cream at the end wouldn't be remiss either. 

Yields two sandwiches. 

It's tomato time here on my blog. This month I'll be looking at different ways to preserve and eat tomatoes. Check out my first post where there are lots of inspiring comments for how to enjoy tomatoes. I am also adding links to the tomato posts as they are published so you will be able to find them together. Check it out here: Tomato Recipes and Ideas.

This post has been submitted to http://www.wildyeastblog.com/.


  1. Lovely. I preserve summer tomatoes buy roasting them and then canning them in half pint jars.

  2. This looks really lovely. I'm not a vegetarian but I totally agree with you that we need to eat responsibly. This is why I end up eating lots of vegetables from our local farms during the summer!

  3. Anonymous8/13/2010

    Wow, I don't even really eat meat but that looks amazing! This sandwich is a great example of how meat can—and should—be used sparingly, as a flavorful garnish, if you will. I don't happen to like mayo, but I can imagine some mashed avocado would also taste great and hold things together. Thanks for sharing. I'm totally making this soon!


  4. Anonymous8/13/2010

    I personally think sandwiches don't get enough credit in general, it's hard to make a really great sandwich. These look awesome!


  5. I love BLTs. Good idea. I'm eaded to the farmers market now to pick up my L & T. The B's in the fridge defrosting. =) I cant wait. Substituting pesto for the lettuce is another tasty option I love to make when I want a quick, flavorful sandwich.

  6. I agree. BLTs are so good any time of year but when we are getting the summer tomatoes it's a whole new treat.

  7. Anonymous8/13/2010

    OH MY!! This made my mouth water. I love BLTs around this time of year! Thanks for the great post!

  8. I substitute Basil for the "L", then you have a BBT. Try it, It's wonderful, especially if you have fresh basil from the Farmers Market or your patio.

  9. Thats what I'm having for dinner tonight! I love this sandwich! Thanks for the idea....

  10. Awesome photos...keep the tomatoes coming

  11. Did you make your mayonnaise? My last batch turned out so freakin' awesome. I hope to duplicate whatever i did this last time every time from now on. And yes, i will miss my lemon tree in Oregon (though i'm fixin' to build a greenhouse, cuz i can't risk not having hot peppers either!)

  12. Anonymous8/14/2010

    Love BLT! It's getting harder to find really nice bacon though. I had an excellent source in London but need to find a good one here in Berlin as well.

  13. Ok, so you did surprise me at the meat eating thing. :) In fact, I was telling my husband about your local eating blog this morning and told him how I followed 3-4 vegetarian/vegan blogs, yours included. Now I'll have to correct myself to him. I do love BLTs too and there's an amazing difference between one with fresh tomatoes and those from the store that don't have any flavor. Thanks for reminding me to buy bacon!

  14. With all of those pretty, fresh veggies, this looks like a wonderful sandwich. I like to add slices of avocado to my BLT, too.

  15. Mmmmm... there is nothing better than the simplicity of minimal ingredients. BLT sandwiches definitely embody that. I haven't had tomatoes grown from home since I was a child, so I can only imagine how amazing this tasted. Btw, that corn looks darn good too :)

  16. Found it! Great blog~ beautiful pics :) I look forward to reading further.

  17. nice! Looks amazing. Yummy BLT!

  18. so simple and so delicious.. I even buy them at restaurants which is so horrible since they're so easy to make!

  19. We're missing the Iowa corn and thinking about all of that mess back there... the news coming through on the transom has been pretty miserable. I hope you're family fared well.

  20. The photo of the sandwich is very pretty. It makes me want to take a big bite!