BLT with Caramelized Black Pepper Bacon and Green Chile Mayo / by Chelsea Zwieg

If there ever was a time to make BLTs it is right now at this perfectly-ripe-unbelievably-juicy tomato time of year. Although, I love BLTs so much that I will eat them any time of year. Any time of day. With any tomatoes. But when they can be made with a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes so beautiful that it is almost painful to eat them? Well then things are just really good. 

On the topic of really good things, let's talk about caramelized black pepper bacon. The only way that I make bacon is in the oven because a) I have no desire to clean up a greasy mess on the stove or microwave b) i I line the pan with enough foil, I don't even have to clean  the pan and c) all laziness aside, it really does just taste better. But my favorite thing to do is cover the bacon in brown sugar or maple syrup before it goes in the oven so that the sugar caramelizes as it bakes making the crispiest, most addicting sweet/savory combo ever created. If I were doing a breakfast thing, I would just go straight sugar or syrup. When I am using it in a more savory thing, I like to mix in some spices to bring a little bit of heat. The bacon in this sandwich gets a mixture of brown sugar, black pepper and cayenne and can I just say, you will never want another kind of bacon ever again. 

Of course, no BLT is complete without mayo. I love, love, love chipotle mayo but in the interest of trying something new and not adding the 95th chipotle recipe to this blog, I used green chilies and I was pleasantly surprised! I might still ust chipotles next time (sorry, green chiles) but this mayo is super easy, a little spicy and overall just really wonderful. 

Ok, and did I mention the rainbow of tomatoes? Oh, a couple time? Well then, my work here is done. 

BLT with Caramelized Black Pepper Bacon and Green Chile Mayo

| Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 1 lb. bacon 
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cayenne 
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 4 oz. can diced green chiles, drained
  • 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 8 slices bread
  • 3 large heirloom tomatoes (or any kind. I just like to get all tomato-color-explosion in my sandwiches)
  • 8 large leaves of romaine lettuce or a small head of iceberg

| Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375. Line 2 baking sheets with foil and arrange bacon in a single layer on the two sheets. 
  • Combine brown sugar, black pepper and cayenne. Sprinkle half of the spice mixture over the bacon and rub it in with your fingertips. Bake bacon for 15 minutes. Flip the bacon, sprinkle with the remaining spice mixture and cook 10-15 minutes longer, until it reaches your desired crispiness. I like my bacon borderline burnt, so I kept it in longer than this. 
  • Meanwhile, mix together the mayo, chiles and lime juice. Cut the tomatoes into thick slices. 
  • To assemble the sandwiches, toast the bread slices until golden brown. Spread the green chile mayo on 4 slices of bread. On the remaining slices of bread layer the lettuce, tomatoes and bacon. Top each sandwich with the mayo spread slices.