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The Greening of the BLT

September 11, 2002|CHRISTY HEDGES | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

One of the best things about the classic BLT sandwich is its crunch. Here's a version that delivers even more, thanks to an old-fashioned favorite: fried green tomatoes.

The tomatoes are coated with yellow cornmeal, then fried--a process that doesn't take long. Crisp iceberg lettuce, high-quality smoked bacon and a thin slice of red onion are the rest of the fillings for this toasted sandwich.

Still want more crunch?

Open a bag of chips. Then serve cold beer alongside to wash down these BLFGT's.

If you don't have any green tomatoes in your garden, look for them at farmers markets or Latino markets, or ask your market's produce department to order some for you.

Bacon, Lettuce and Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 20 minutes

12 thick slices smoked bacon

4 medium-large green tomatoes

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon sugar

4 to 6 tablespoons butter

8 slices sourdough bread

Mayonnaise

4 thin slices red onion

4 leaves iceberg lettuce

Fry the bacon in a heavy 12-inch skillet over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Reserve the bacon grease in the skillet, but discard any large bits of bacon that might burn.

Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes 1/3-to 1/2-inch thick. Mix the cornmeal, salt, pepper, cayenne and sugar together in a pie plate. Dredge the tomatoes in the mixture.

Add 4 tablespoons of butter to the reserved bacon grease and melt over medium heat. If you prefer not to use the bacon grease, wipe the pan clean and add a little more butter, about 2 tablespoons.

When the foam from the melting butter has subsided, add the tomato slices and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully turn the tomatoes with a spatula and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more.

Toast the bread slices until golden. To assemble the sandwiches, spread the bread with mayonnaise to taste. Arrange the tomatoes on half of the bread slices, then place the bacon on top, followed by the onion slices--one per sandwich--and the lettuce. Place the remaining bread on top of each sandwich and slice in half. Secure the layers with a toothpick.

4 servings. Each serving: 626 calories; 2,380 mg sodium; 59 mg cholesterol; 33 grams fat; 13 grams saturated fat; 64 grams carbohydrates; 18 grams protein; 4.68 grams fiber.

MENU

Bacon, Lettuce and Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches

Potato chips

Ice-cold beer

STAPLES

Beer

Butter

Cayenne pepper

Cornmeal

Iceberg lettuce

Mayonnaise

Potato chips

Sugar

SHOPPING LIST

Smoked thick-sliced bacon

Sourdough bread

Red onion

Green tomatoes

GAME PLAN

20 minutes before: Fry bacon. Prepare tomatoes.

10 minutes before: Fry tomatoes.

Just before serving: Toast bread, assemble sandwiches.

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