National BLT Sandwich Month

One of my favorite memories from growing up was one summer evening when we had Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwiches with fresh tomatoes from our garden.  As I remember it was a classic summer evening, warm without being hot and not too humid.  Back then the sandwich was built with lightly-toasted Wonder Bread as the base, Oscar Meyer bacon cooked browned and crunchy, and nice crisp Iceberg lettuce, topping thick slices of homegrown tomatoes.  Miracle Whip perfectly moistened the sandwich and as a growing teenager I could have eaten a half dozen if not stopped with the promise of dessert.

These days the bread has changed into a myriad of choices, the bacon is usually what looks good at the market, the lettuce may sometimes even be spinach and Miracle Whip, has stepped aside for mayonnaise.  The tomatoes are still fresh from the garden when in season, though.  Occasionally I recreate that childhood memory using similar ingredients and it always transports me back to that backyard summer supper.

Although I still love a classic BLT sandwich, this variation on the theme has become a favorite in our home.

Grilled Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Salad with Sourdough Croutons

¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 head romaine lettuce, cut in quarters length-wise
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 plum tomatoes, cut in half length-wise
½ tablespoon olive oil,
Salt and pepper to taste
1 loaf sourdough bread, cut into thick slices,
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ pound bacon, cooked and crumbled

Method:  Preheat the grill or broiler to hot.  Oil the lettuce, tomatoes and bread.  Season with salt and pepper.  Make the dressing by combining the mayonnaise, lemon juice, sugar, olive oil and freshly ground pepper in a bowl.  Chill.  Grill the lettuce until lightly charred and slightly limp.  Grill the tomatoes until lightly charred but not mushy.  Grill the bread until toasted.  Cut the bread into cubes, the lettuce into bite-sized chunks and the tomato into cubes.  Toss with the dressing and bacon.  Serve at room temperature or cold.

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