During the holidays last year, I found myself in the kitchen on a Friday night with absolutely no interest in cooking. Maybe it was all the rich Thanksgiving side dish taste-testing, or the cookies, but part of me was just tired. Although I had what I'm sure was a perfectly acceptable meal planned, I didn't even bother looking in my recipe book. Andrew and I discussed the best course of action, and he opened the fridge to tell me what we had. Bacon and spinach were mentioned. Then I saw a tomato in my vegetable bowl on the counter. And bread was in the freezer. I also had chives, for some reason.
This was the first night of many that we ate BLTs. It was so easy, and in the midst of Christmas shopping, office parties, and preparing to move, it was exactly what we both wanted to eat. Chives turned out to be the star of this sandwich, adding a mild onion flavor to the mayonnaise and generally brightening up each element it touched. And now that you're making your own mayonnaise (see last week's Saturday Post), this is a great variation to try.
BLT'S WITH CHIVE MAYONNAISE
Since there are so few ingredients in this sandwich, it's important that each is chosen carefully. Arugula (instead of spinach), has more flavor, and toasting the bread adds crunchy texture with each bite. There is no correct way to assemble the sandwich, but I prefer the lettuce on the bottom, so the weight of the tomatoes holds it in place and it's less likely to spill out of the sides. (You may have noticed the plate of sliced avocado. My mom brought a few, so we added them to the sandwiches, but avocados are optional.)
4 ciabatta rolls or other country-style bread
8 slices of thick-cut bacon, cooked and drained on paper towels
2 Roma tomatoes or Heirloom tomatoes, sliced
2 cups of Arugula
2 tbsp. chopped chives
Sliced avocado, optional
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil, for drizzling on bread
1 cup Mayonnaise
To make the chive mayonnaise, halve the basic mayonnaise recipe (using 1 cup of oil, 1 egg and 1 tsp. of salt), or make the entire recipe and use 1 cup of plain mayonnaise for these sandwiches, reserving the other cup for later use. In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, chives, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste, adding more lemon if you want.
Toast the bread. Slice ciabatta rolls and drizzle with some olive oil. Heat a skillet on medium heat, and gently toast each slice until golden brown, about three minutes. Set aside.
To assemble the sandwiches, slather each side of bread with some of the chive mayonnaise. On the bottom slice, scatter arugula, then place four tomato slices on top of the arugula. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper. On top of the tomatoes, add two slices of bacon. Secure the top slice in place and cut sandwich on the diagonal with a serrated knife.
Assemble the remaining sandwiches and serve. For a picnic or hike, prepare ingredients separately and reserve in separate bags. To avoid soggy bacon and bread, assemble the sandwiches when you're ready to eat.