Everybody likes a BLT?

I was born in March. Not this past March, obviously, or my tiny fetal hands would have a much harder time typing this. My mom insists that when she was pregnant with me, she ate a BLT sandwich pretty much every day. That was her main “craving” I guess, and it stands to reason that I would like BLTs, right? Except I don’t. I’ve never even eaten a traditional BLT, and I’m 28 years old.

It’s not that I don’t like the idea of a sandwich that begins with bacon. I think it’s a fantastic idea. But two components of the sandwich throw me for such a giant loop that I’m unable to complete the transition from idea to actual meal.

First, mayonnaise. I detest mayonnaise in all of its devilish forms.

Second, tomatoes. As you know, I’ve recently embraced vine-ripened, in-season tomatoes. I’ll eat them with nothing more than a little sea salt, balsamic, and olive oil. But any tomato that can be found and eaten in the winter months can die in a fire. The months leading up to March definitely qualify as “winter.”

Some people love certain ingredients so much that they’ll eat them at any time of year, even if it’s not technically seasonal. I’m like that with sweets. I don’t even really care if it’s a quality dessert or not– if it has sugar, it’s going down the hatch. So I’m not going to judge my momma for eating tomatoes on her sandwiches while she was carrying my (near 10 lb) baby ass around. She just really likes tomatoes.

But I can’t do it.

And I can’t eat mayo. I’ve found that certain recipes call for a small amount of mayonnaise (like most dressings), and I’m okay with using it in those cases. It has to be freshly made, though. No jarred mayonnaise. Not even a teaspoon in a full cup of dressing. I don’t keep it in the house, and if anyone tries to sneak it in, they’ll be shot on sight. Zero tolerance. I’ve never had a traditional potato salad. I’ve never signed up to make deviled eggs. I just can’t get around the repugnance of mayonnaise.

Mayonnaise is easy to make, for being a potion moste fowle. You don’t need eye of newt or lizard’s tail or the blood of innocents. All it takes is a little bit of egg yolk, a bigger bit of oil, and some flavoring ingredients (salt and dijon mustard, notably). I make it in the blender. When I was in culinary school, I had to make it on a plate with a fork. I thought that was a giant pain in the ass for no reason, but the chef instructor assured us that at some point the topic would come up, and we’d be able to brag “I once had to make mayonnaise using a PLATE and a FORK. Turns out that time is now.

Blender Mayonnaise

3 egg yolks at room temperature
2 C vegetable oil
1 T dijon mustard
1 t salt

Put yolks, mustard, and salt in a blender on low speed until they are combined. Slowly (SLOWLY) drizzle in the oil, increasing speed to medium partway through. The end result is creamy mayo. If it gets too thick, add a teaspoon of warmish water and then continue to drizzle in the oil.

I like to think my hatred for most savory, creamy, white foods (I don’t do mayo, ricotta, cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, alfredo sauce, hollandaise, or any others, for the most part) is actually a blessing. Aren’t those the super-high-calorie garnishes on most foods? So I’ve probably saved billions of calories by avoiding them like the plague. I love German potato salad, with its vinegary-mustard dressing. And I love vinaigrettes. And I substitute plain yogurt for sour cream. Those were always just survival foods for me. Like I can eat what you’re eating, it just has to be slightly different.

I’m like one of the little people on TLC. I can do everything you can, just with some small adjustments.

But survival foods ended up being healthier foods. Rock on.

The BLT, though. Sigh. It has eluded me. You can’t eat it dry, right? Enter some creativity…

I DO like ranch dressing. And I like it on sandwiches (like turkey and bacon). So my tiny, undersized woman brain began to percolate. Why couldn’t I make a BLT with ranch dressing instead of mayo? Buttermilk ranch, when made at home, is way lower calorie than mayonnaise. Buttermilk is actually incredibly low calorie, and packs vast quantities of flavor punch. So if there’s a bit of mayo and a bit of buttermilk, that’s going to be better for me than two bits of mayo. Logic allstar!

So I made some mayonnaise, and then I made some ranch dressing. And the ranch dressing was KILLER. Seriously, delicious. It lasts a good week or so in the fridge, so you can definitely make a full batch and use it up. I modified the recipe from Simply Recipes to make it a little richer and a little easier.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
1 C buttermilk
.75 C mayonnaise
1 t lemon juice
.25 t paprika
.25 t dry mustard
.5 t salt
.25 t black pepper
1 T chopped fresh parsley
1 t chopped fresh chives
.25 t dried dill

Put it in the blender, or whisk it together until thick and fully combined. Allow it to sit in the fridge for at least 15 minutes so the flavors can meld together.

After tasting the dressing, it was so good that I didn’t want to just smear a touch of it on some bread and then overwhelm it with bacon and tomatoes and breadiness. So the BLT salad was born. I made some quick croutons (the new convection oven is actually gobsmackingly efficient at making croutons), chopped up some farmer’s market lettuce, cut some of my fresh slab bacon into little bacon bits, halved some cherry tomatoes, and WHAM. The BLT salad.

It was really, really, intensely satisfying. I spent some time trying to create “perfect bites,” where I had a crouton, a bacon baton, a tomato half, a piece of lettuce, and a drib of dressing on my fork all at once. Those were the best bites. But none of the other bites were half bad, either. That ranch would go great with anything short of pancakes, and the bacon is so good on its own, and the farm-fresh produce is more than willing to steal the show of any particular bite you’d like to introduce to your mouth…

BLT and I are striking up a tentative friendship. I guess it’s more of a BLRT, since it gets ranch, but if the original BLT doesn’t mention mayo in its moniker, then I don’t see why I have to add an “r.”

I run with gangs.

Anyway, make this for a light and healthy dinner at some point before the tomatoes go to March on you, and before a salad doesn’t feel like it’ll stick to your ribs enough to brace you against the winter cold.

When that cold hits, though, I’d go straight back to chicken and dumplings.

17 thoughts on “Everybody likes a BLT?”

  1. Never thought about putting ranch on a BLT and what a wonderful idea! My spin on having a BLT w/o mayo is spreading a really soft avocado on the bread. THAT is summer heaven!

  2. I'm not a fan of the Mayo either. And I'm not as creative or domestic as you, so I skip the mayo and add fresh avocado and eat it on French bread. So our BLT sandwiches are BLTAs. I love all the personal funny stories you add in here. You make me laugh.

  3. I'm with Tiffany- I can't stand mayo on a sandwich so for BLT's I add avocado and maybe a touch of mustard. The tomato is only good if it's from the garden so I eat a lot of BLA's.

  4. The dreaded mayo is not a prerequisite of a BLT. It's not listed in the acronym, so it shouldn't be required. I actually like them dry, meself. It's all about the bacon and the mater.

    BTW, my mom ate nothing but pancakes when pregnant with me, and I don't like pancakes. Maybe you get your fill in the womb.

  5. My mom craved Almond Joys and I'll be damned if that isn't my favorite candy bar. I was her 4th and largest child at 9 and a half pounds. And she's tiny. Unfortunately, I also like mayo, but hate tomatoes. I think Ranch sounds like a great alternative, though. I think I'll make this salad over the weekend.

  6. This may shock you, but I eat my blts dry. I cannot stand mayo, and ranch is no better. I'll take avocado when I can get it, but the quality is unreliable here in the far north.

  7. Oh, man my captcha is "prick." I totally lost my train of thought.

    I love mayo. My besty in high school called it "godsperm." That makes you want it even more, doesn't it?

    I can eat just plain tomato-mayo sammiches and be perfectly happy. You just retched a little, didn't you.

  8. I hate mayo too. I also love BLTs. I never had a problem eating them "dry". It's really all about the bacon – even when the tomato is less than perfect.

    Actually, the best way to eat a BLT is to make it a BALT – a meaning avocado. That's a fat that beats mayo into the ground in a sobbing bloody pulp.

  9. And here I am…after many many months of not coming by. And I find that you are forging a relationship with small locally grown cherry tomatoes at the same time that I am. I despise tomatoes. They are gross. And squishy. And they taste funny. And I don't like them. But I have started eating them. I would not say I am enjoying them yet…but I am not hating them. :)

    Your BLT salad looks delicious. I may have to make that one night this week since it is going to be hot (and I use that term very loosely) here, supposedly.

    Also, like you, I am enjoying the awesomeness that is locally grown prodyce. I love Ithaca and its little farms and the super great grocery store that offers locally grown produce.

    teeheehee my word verification is egonaw

  10. Your recipes are incredible! You should send them into this contest I know of that’s making its way around the country. It’s coming to San Antonio on October 2-3! I noticed your recipe and thought you would be interested. You could get great exposure for your recipes and meet celebrity cooks (Bobby Flay, Sunny Anderson, Sara Moulton, or Cat Cora). All you have to do is go to healthyfoodfight.com to submit one of your healthy recipes. Deadline to sign up for San Antonio is September 15th so hurry! Good luck if you decide to enter, and if not, keep posting! :)

  11. Dear Spiteful Chef-

    I only JUST found your blog and it ROCKS!! I sincerely hope your hiatus is related to new house stuff and not a permanent situation. :-)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *