Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Do you LOVE tomatoes?

I love fresh garden tomatoes more than just about anything else. Hmmm... maybe even more than chocolate, LOL! Unfortunately, the weather patterns in the Pacific Northwest have been much cooler and wetter than normal this year, and my tomatoes, being tropical plants, are NOT happy. Ordinarily my garden would be awash in fresh tomatoes in the first week of September. This year, not only is the crop very small, it's very late. I was beginning to think we would have no fresh tomatoes at all this year, but today we had the first ones.

Now the problem is... how do you divide a measly 3 tomatoes among a family of 4 greedy tomatoes lovers? Why, a BLT of course.

This beautiful sandwich is not just any BLT either. The "Caprese BLT" is a family favorite that I make every year. I found the recipe a few years ago in a magazine where it had won a prize for creative sandwiches. If you love tomatoes as much as I do, you have to try this.

Caprese BLT

2 medium tomatoes, sliced thin
1 loaf ciabatta bread
1 1/3 cups packed fresh basil, divided
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
8 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and crumbled
4 romaine lettuce leaves
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Place tomatoes slices on several layers of paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 15 minutes, then press with additional paper towels to extract excess moisture.
Slice bread in half horizontally and use your fingers to remove and discard all but about 1/2 inch of interior crumb.
Puree 1 cup of the basil leaves, mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, hot sauce, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a blender or food processor until smooth.
To assemble the sandwich, spread basil mayonnaise on both cut sides of the bread. Sprinkle the bacon on the bottom half and cover with the romaine leaves. Spread the tomato slices and cheese slices over the lettuce as evenly as possible -- be sure to use them all!
Mix the oil and vinegar together in a small bowl and drizzle over the tomatoes and cheese. Spread the remaining 1/3 cup of basil leaves over this and replace the top half of the bread.
Cut the sandwich crosswise into 2-inch thick slices and serve. I recommend lots of napkins. :-)

Enjoy -- It truly is as good as it looks! All I ask is, if you MUST use fat-free mayonnaise or turkey bacon, please don't tell me about it.


Linda Fleming said...

Sounds yummy! I bet Jeff has oodles of tomatoes when you go to Iowa next week.

Kerry said...

Well, Yum! This is a very fancy BLT, I wish I was there to try it, we always just slap it between 2 pieces of toast and get on with it but your's looks much more appealing.

Mary O. said...

Well it does sound (and look) delicious. I've copied the recipe and will have to try this, thanks!

Kai said...

I have to admit, that is about the most tempting sandwich I've ever seen. It has everything I love tucked into it! Makes me wish I could stick my chubby little hand right through the monitor and sneak that sandwich off your blog! LOL!

Carla said...

WooHoo does that look good! I might have to try it and not give hubby any. Poor baby, standing behind me eating cake and choked on that last sentence.