I think I am starting a love affair with my vegetables. I picked up my box of veggies from my CSA (look to top right of my blog for more info.) yesterday, and, when I looked inside it, I had the thought that if heaven looked like this I would start being a good girl from now on! I hate to make you jealous, and mad with envy, but, I must list what jumped out at me; stripy red and green heirloom tomatoes, yellow, green and purple string beans, a giant mound of sweet basil leaves, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, baby eggplants, 2 heads of lettuce and 6 heads of garlic still sporting their 2 1/2 foot long stalks! The dilemma of what vegetable to cook first, and, what to actual cook, to make the most of their freshness and flavors enveloped me, and had my head spinning by the time I put my box in the car and drove homeward?
The tomatoes were the things I was dreaming about the most. When you wait and wait for your first taste of the seasons best fruit, it is your duty to do something with them immediately; but what? All I really wanted to do was slice them, and sprinkle each one lovingly with some salt flakes and black pepper, and eat them by myself before anyone else saw them. In my effort to be a better girl I restrained myself, and decided to share.
I was dead-set on not cooking them, and I wanted them to be the star of the main evening meal. I was also in a bit of a pickle (couldn’t resist being cornball) about what to do with the 5 or so cucumbers sitting in a bowl on my counter-top. This is also a fruit I like to eat cold when it is in season.
I grew up in a country where the word BLT never passed my lips. If I was told it was a cold sandwich (apart from the bread) and the ‘B” meant bacon, the expression on my face would have told anyone looking, “cold fried bacon; disgusting!” I never warmed to the idea of eating the ubiquitous american sandwich, and only tried one a few years ago. It was made by a person who knew that to be a successful BLT, the tomatoes must be of the highest quality with loads of flavor. I couldn’t belive that I liked it. The salty crunch of the bacon with the sweet tang of the tomatoes was a surprisingly good combination.
I was reminded of that sandwich when I saw the lovely stripy tomatoes, and knew that I had to make BLT’s for dinner. It was a first for me, but the reaction of sheer pleasure emanating from my man Dave with every bite told me I would be making them again and again this summer.
I also made the mayonnaise (I had to actually do something!). And listen, it is a breeze to put together and makes all the difference in the world. If Sarah and Anton of Good Work Farm spend months getting lovely produce to my table, the least I can do is make the mayo!
You will need: 1 lb bacon, 1 head or 12 leaves of lettuce (as fresh as humanly possible), 4 – 6 best quality tomatoes, sliced, 1 cup mayonnaise (homemade if possible – recipe provided below), 1 cucumber, sliced to your taste, coarse salt and pepper (optional seasoning), 8 slices of good quality bread (Country Italian or French)
You will need: 2 egg yolks,(use the freshest eggs available), a pinch of salt, 1 tbs white wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp strong mustard (I used Coleman’s), 1/2 cup sunflower oil, 1/2 cup olive oil (not extra virgin)
1 – In a glass, stainless steel or sturdy ceramic bowl, add the egg yolks, pinch of salt, mustard and white wine vinegar. Combine with whisk for a few seconds.
2 – Mix oils together and very slowly add oil to eggs 1 drop at a time, while whisking vigorously. Keep adding at an extremely slow pace, whisking all the while until the oil is fully incorporated, and the mixture is a glossy emulsion. It should be done by the time you finish adding the oil.
Taste for salt and add more to your taste if you need to. Put in a container with tight-fitting lid, and store in the fridge until ready to use (it should last up to a week or two if the eggs you use are very fresh).
Make the BLT’s
1 – Fry the bacon and transfer to paper towels to drain. Slice cucumber and tomatoes to thickness you like. Wash and dry lettuce.
2 – Slather one side of toasted bread with mayonnaise, and add slices of tomatoes, followed by bacon, lettuce and cucumbers (if using). Smear second slice of bread with more mayonnaise and press on top of lettuce.
Place on plate. Slice in half and devour!