Yield: 4 sandwiches
One of the first things I want to make when good tomatoes start to come back into season is a BLT…what’s not to love?! A fine BLT is a piece of art…when all the elements are perfectly balanced, no ingredient overtaking the others and the sandwich doesn’t fall apart when you’re eating it (a common mistake for those not yet experienced in the BLT art form). This version has a bright yet woodsy HOMEMADE mayonnaise from the combination of lemon and rosemary. Change up your mayonnaise add-ins to make your own spin on a BLT: some garlic, chives, Sriracha, Dijon mustard…the possibilities are endless.
2 large egg yolks (as fresh as you can get)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup safflower or grapeseed oil
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon very finely minced fresh rosemary
1 pound bacon
8 slices of good-quality sandwich bread
1-1/4 pounds tomatoes, very thinly sliced and set on paper towels to drain
2 cups lettuce (preferably oak leaf or butter lettuce)
Combine the egg yolks, mustard, salt, white pepper and half of the white wine vinegar. Whisk until very smooth and slightly thickened, about 30 seconds. Slowly drizzle in the oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, while whisking vigorously and wait for the oil to completely combine with the egg mixture before adding another tablespoon. The mixture should begin to thicken and will turn a pale yellow color. Continue to add the oil in this fashion until all of the oil has been used. When emulsified, the mixture should be very thick and will look almost exactly like store-bought mayonnaise, but will be a beautiful yellow color that you only get from homemade mayo! Add the remaining white wine vinegar; taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, to taste. Add the lemon zest and juice and the minced rosemary and whisk to combine. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 325°. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and lay the bacon on the sheet, slightly overlapping the slices. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until slightly crisp. For the best result, do not cook your bacon until crisp! Drain on paper towels when cooked. Cut in half for the sandwich.
Preheat grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a panini press. When hot, add two slices of bread, one stacked on the other to keep the centers soft and moist. Add a skillet to the top to lightly press the bread down, if using a grill pan. Grill for 1 to 2 minutes, until the bread has golden-brown grill marks and is crisp. Continue until all the bread has been toasted.
When ready to serve, spread a thick layer of mayonnaise on the non-grilled side of each slice of bread. Add about 6 slices of tomato; season with salt and pepper. Next, add 5 to 6 slices of bacon, and a generous handful of lettuce. Top with the second slice of bread. Cut in half on the diagonal to serve. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches.