One of my all-time, favorite sandwiches is the humble BLT.
Bologna, legumes, and tuna? No, not that one.
I mean a simple Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato, on toasted bread with mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. It is a sandwich that makes me think of diners, of Sunday lunches, of grandparents, of lazy weekends, of summertime. (A lot of fond memories to load on one poor, little sandwich, I know.) How perfect is this sandwich? The toasty crunch of the bread (always white bread for a BLT, in my opinion), the crisp, fresh lettuce leaves, thick and juicy slices of tomato, smoky, salty bacon. A little bit of rich mayonnaise on the toast completes the stellar fillings of this sandwich.
It is an easy sandwich to adapt and change up: add cheese (CBLT), add fresh basil (BBLT), leave out all the veggies and load on extra bacon (XB). If you add turkey, however you are heading into Club Sandwich territory and that’s a different sandwich.
According to the Food Timeline, the BLT came into being in the early twentieth century, around the same time as the Club Sandwich, and likely earned its name from diners and restaurants where it was served – abbreviated by cooks and waitstaff in a hurry to get orders into the kitchen.
The BLTs I give you here stay true to the classic while also offering a little variation in flavors that enhance the core ingredients, namely the B, the L, and the T.
My versions of the BLT call for thick slices of freshly made artisan white or sourdough bread that can hold all the fresh and flavorful fillings, including juice from the sliced tomatoes, the spreads of garlic aioli or Boursin cheese, and the just-cooked strips of glistening bacon.
The variation that includes Boursin cheese is technically a CBLT, but Boursin is really about the flavorings more than the soft cheese that holds them. A classic garlic and herb Boursin is wonderful with the fresh tomato and the bacon.
Enjoy this BLT made homemade Garlic Aioli – the recipe is below! To see the second variation, a BLT with Boursin cheese tap right here to be taken to the recipe!
BLT with Garlic Aioli
For the garlic aioli*:
- *see note at end of recipe
- 1 head plus 1 small clove of garlic, divided
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Pinch black pepper
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large tomatoes, washed
- 8 slices thick, sourdough or white artisan bread
- 1 small head Green leaf lettuce, washed and spun dry
- Black Pepper
- 16 pieces bacon, freshly cooked and drained
- 8 Sandwich picks or toothpicks
Make the roasted garlic:
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Take a whole head of garlic, and use a sharp knife to cut off an inch or two off of the top. This will expose the cloves within their paper shells. If a few cloves remain hidden, use the knife to cut into the tops of them. Place a square of foil onto a baking sheet or in an aluminum pie plate. Place the head of garlic in the center of the foil. Drizzle the olive oil over the top of the head, getting each clove. Pull the edges of the foil up around the garlic to seal it inside. Place the sheet or pie plate in the oven and roast the garlic for 45 minutes. The cloves should be browned and soft. Remove the garlic from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Once it is cool enough to handle, squeeze the cloves out of the papery skins. Discard the skins. Set the cloves aside, or refrigerate them in a sealed container until ready to make the aioli.
Make the aioli:
- Place the remaining small, fresh clove of garlic, the roasted garlic, egg yolks, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper into the bowl of a food processor. Blend the ingredients together until they are smooth. With the processor running, slowly add in the oil in a stream to blend it into the other ingredients. (If you can't add the oil with the machine running, add it a little at a time, blending between additions.) The mixture should be a smooth and uniform emulsion. If it is too thick, add a little water and then blend again. If the emulsion breaks, stop adding oil and blend until the aioli is smooth again.
- Slice the tomatoes into 1/2-inch thick slices. Use a paper towel to blot the slices dry.
- Toast the slices of bread to your liking: for BLTs I like the bread toasted lightly, but go for darker if that's what you prefer.
Assemble the sandwiches:
- Lay out 4 toast slices. Spread each slice with about 1 tablespoon of garlic aioli. Place pieces of lettuce on each slice of bread. Top the lettuce with the sliced tomato, 2 slices per sandwich. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over the tomatoes. Top the tomatoes with 4 slices of bacon on each sandwich. (The slices can be cut in half to make them fit better if you'd like.) If desired, more aioli can be spread on the remaining slices of toast. Top each sandwich with toast slices (aioli side down if you used more.) Use a sharp knife to slice each sandwich in half, and skewer each half with sandwich picks. Place the sandwiches on individual plates and serve immediately.