Have you ever eaten something and thought “this is the only way I can ever eat this again”? That happened to me with this sandwich.
Don’t get mad, but I have to admit I’m not really a fan of BLT’s. They are fine sandwiches but there isn’t much to them. It’s like they are missing something, and I think I found out exactly what’s been missing. You have to revamp the entire sandwich…. bread and fry the tomatoes, candy the bacon, make a delicious aioli, and eat it all on a pretzel bun.
It’s a souped-up BLT…a gourmet BLT if you will…it’s a Fried Tomato Sandwich with Pecan Bacon and Chipotle Aioli. And, it’s delicious.
The recipe can be found here.
Start by making the chipotle aioli. Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and mix to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until ready to use.
Next, prepare the pecan bacon. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Separate each piece of bacon and place on a paper towel. Then, use another paper towel to dab the bacon dry. You don’t want any moisture on the bacon.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, then place a wire rack on top. This helps the bacon cook evenly because there is some airflow on top of and below the bacon.
Combine the brown sugar and pecans on a large plate or in a 9×13 baking dish. Place each piece of bacon in the brown sugar mixture, one piece at a time, to coat. Press down to make the brown sugar and pecan pieces stick. You want each piece to be fully coated.
Place each piece of coated bacon on the wire rack, leaving a little space between the bacon if possible. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the bacon has crisped and the pecans are starting to turn brown. Cool for 10 minutes, then use a spatula to gently remove the bacon to a plate. You don’t need to line the plate with paper towels at this point and don’t want to because the bacon is a little sticky and will stick to the paper towels. Set the bacon aside until ready to use.
Slice each tomato into 2-3 rounds that are ¼ inch to ½ inch wide.
Place 3 small bowls on the counter. In the first bowl, add the flour. In the second bowl, combine the egg and milk. In the third bowl, combine the cornmeal, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper. You are essentially creating an assembly line to coat the tomatoes.
One at a time, dip a tomato slice into the flour the coat. Then, dip the flour-coated tomato slice into the milk/egg mixture. Then, dip it into the breadcrumb mixture making sure to fully coat the entire tomato slice. Set on a plate and continue to dip the remaining tomato slices.
Add about ½ into to 1 inch of oil to a skillet or Dutch oven. Heat the oil over medium heat. Once ready, place 2-3 of the breaded tomato slices in the hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown, flipping halfway. Don’t add too many tomatoes at once or you’ll overcrowd the pan. You also want to be careful when adding/removing tomatoes from the pan, so you don’t burn yourself on the hot oil.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the tomatoes to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat until all tomato slices have been fried.
You can now assemble the sandwiches. Start by adding a generous amount of the chipotle aioli to the bottom half of the pretzel bun. You can use any type of hamburger bun you like but I think the pretzel buns add a nice element to the sandwich.
Break 2 pieces of bacon in half and place on top of the aioli.
Add 2-3 tomato slices on top of the bacon. You might need to layer the tomatoes a bit to get them to fit on the sandwich. It’s going to be tall!
Add a heaping handful of arugula on top of the tomato slices. Feel free to use lettuce, spinach, or any greens of your choosing. I think the arugula pairs nicely with the rest of the sandwich. It’s fresh and crunchy and doesn’t get lost with the other flavors.
Optional, but I like to add a small amount of the aioli to the top bun to act as a glue to help hold the sandwich together. Place the top bun on half and enjoy!
You might need to cut this sandwich in half first. It’s going to be messy and you might need a few napkins, but you won’t regret it 🙂 I don’t think I can ever eat a traditional BLT again and you might feel the same way after trying this recipe. Let me know your reviews.
The recipe can be found here.