Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

BLT Features Summer's Best between Slices

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

BLT Features Summer's Best between Slices

Article excerpt

I was plucking lettuce and planting tomatoes in the pots and old green recycling bins-turned-planters that I consider a backyard garden when The Hub arrived with a question:

"You've got lettuce and tomato. When are you going to put in a bacon plant?"

I would if I could.

It's an ideal balance of flavors and textures - of acid to fat, salty to sweet, crisp to tender - proving that a dozen ingredients aren't necessary to make an ideal dish.

A BLT is a simple three-letter statement that, like SOS, needs no elaboration. However, people will try to mess around with it. They might add avocado, and another letter, turning it into a BLAT, which is what a flat tuba sounds like, not a sandwich.

I've come across some BLTs where the makers threw in herbs, which are unnecessary and chewy. Or raw onion. Seriously? Then you get a BLOT, a clash of flavors along with rather aromatic breath. Putting a BLT on a fluffy burger bun instead of sliced bread is like digging through the packing peanuts to retrieve the tiny item you ordered. The sandwich is about the filling, not the bread.

And I've had plenty of IDCBLTs - I-don't-care sandwiches slapped together with insufficient bacon, limp lettuce and golf-ball-hard tomatoes. You have to be invested in the BLT, to love the details.

The beauty of a good BLT is its uncomplicated nature. However, still sandwiches run deep. With only five ingredients, every last one of them has got to be good.

Take a roast beef sandwich. Cheese, pickles and onions on top could camouflage meat that looks more like, well, camo. And if the chicken salad is good enough, you might not notice that the bread is less than fresh.

With a BLT, there's nowhere to hide.

Let's start with the bread. You don't have to insist on organic-brick oven stuff, but it should be decent and fresh. Slices. Remember, the bread merely is the stage for the BLT show. …

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