BLT with Caramelized Cayenne Bacon and Roasted Garlic-Chipotle Mayo / by Chelsea Zwieg

There are few things I love more than a BLT. When I was in high school I worked at Subway. Not only did I learn how to make a perfect sandwich, chop vegetables till there were no cucumbers left in the world and break out of a walk-in-freezer when the door closed and stuck behind me, I also ate a lot of BLTs. I would microwave the bacon until it was burnt, add lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, pickles and banana peppers and top it all off with chipotle mayo and tons of salt and pepper. Nothing in the world made high school Chelsea happier. 

But now I don't work at Subway. And I can't ask the subway sandwich maker to burn my bacon and add the entire stores stock of banana peppers and toast the bread not all the way but just enough to melt the cheese. Well, I could...but they would hate me. And I'd hate myself a little too. So now I make my BLTs at home.

And I make them with caramelized bacon. And roasted garlic-chipotle mayo. And avocado. Pure happiness.

The bacon is covered in a mixture of maple syrup and cayenne pepper that gives the perfect balance between sweet and spicy. The maple syrup caramelizes in the oven and the bacon comes out with a sweet, crispy coating that absolutely beats burning it in the Subway microwave. 

The mayo gets its flavor from chipotle peppers and roasted garlic, so it is spicy, smoky and a little sweet all at the same time. Playing around with this mayo recipe was my first time roasting garlic and let me tell you, roasted garlic will be making quite a few more appearances in my cooking. When it's roasted it looses the sharp, acidic bite that raw garlic has and it takes on a more subtle, buttery and slightly sweet flavor that is so wonderful. 

Add these to good fresh bread (I love sourdough), juicy tomatoes, lettuce (the only time that iceberg is my lettuce of choice), and avocado to cut through the spiciness and you have the perfect sandwich. 

 

And I have to say, a home BLT over a Subway BLT is a pretty great trade-off.

I get to eat a BLT but I don't have to clock back in and listen to a mom try to order a sub for her little Timmy who doesn't like meat, cheese or vegetables and wants a 6'' mayo sandwich on white bread.

Ok, little Timmy.

BLT with Caramelized Cayenne Bacon and Roasted Garlic-Chipotle Mayo

Makes 4 sandwiches (plus a little extra bacon for snitching) 

Note: It might seem like a bit of a time commitment to roast garlic just for mayo but remember, you can stick the foil pouch of garlic in the oven with the bacon and it takes no extra time. They have the same cook time and temperature. Plus, you will not even believe the smells coming out of your oven when you are cooking bacon AND roasting garlic. Get. Out. 

Ingredients |

  • 1 lb. thick cut bacon
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 chilis in adobo sauce, roughly chopped
  • 8 slices bread
  • 2 beefsteak (or heirloom tomatoes), thinly sliced 
  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce (or lettuce of your choice. Romaine is also good) 
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced

| Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside
  • Cut head of garlic in half, place on a small sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the foil up around the sides of the garlic, folding it over at the top so it is sealed. Place in oven and roast for 35-40 minutes, until soft
  • In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup and cayenne pepper. Arrange bacon on prepared baking sheets and brush both sides with the maple syrup mixture. Bake 30-45 minutes, until crispy
  • Once garlic has cooled, squeeze the soft garlic out of the skin into the bowl of a food processor. Add mayo and chipotle peppers. Pulse until combined, leaving a few flecks of pepper and garlic, about 30 seconds
  • Spread mayo onto four slices of bread. Divide sliced tomatoes, lettuce and avocado evenly between the remaining four slices. Top with bacon and the slices with mayo.