Our new home is nestled in a small village at the foothills of Mt. Tamalpais. The village is charming and quaint. Full of cafés, antique shops, the sweetest little 80-year-old, family owned grocery store, boutiques, restaurants, a village square with pick-up chess matches year round, an outdoor creekside florist, and the ever important, gelateria (they know me well). I love stepping off our front porch early Saturday morning, when the sun is quiet and the streets are muted, stroll less than 100 feet, and return home with an armful of fresh flowers, a glass bottle of old-fashioned, cream-topped milk and a fresh baguette from the village baker. A morning that’s hard to top.
Unless, it’s followed up that evening by a trip to our old historic village movie theater. My love for good movies runs as deep as my love for good food, so you can imagine my excitement the night we left the house at 9:30pm and walked to catch the 9:35pm show, with 3 minutes to spare and Milk Duds to boot. I sat on Cloud 9. The Kids Are All Right was playing. Have you seen it? It’s one of those films you never, ever want to end. The kind where you wish you could follow the lives of the characters for the next 50 years — become their friends, invite them over for supper. One of my favorite scenes involved Annette Bening and heirloom tomatoes. I won’t give it away, so you’ll have to see the movie for yourself, but ever since, I’m not able to buy, look or even think of an heirloom tomato the same.
So, as I stood at the farmer’s market this weekend, chuckling to myself as I replayed the scene in my head, I nearly forgot what beautiful specimens I had in my possession. BLT sandwiches are only made during the summertime tomato season in our house, so we take the small window of opportunity pretty seriously. This year, the volume is turned up – way up. This is the mother of all BLT’s. This is none other than the B.E.L.T. Sandwich. Bacon, Egg, Lettuce and Tomato. Thick-cut, Free-Range, Bibb and Heirloom. Go, Now, Make and Eat.
B.E.L.T. SANDWICH, serves 2
Inspired by the sandwich at Milk Bar in Chelsea Market
I love using Bibb or Butter lettuce for this sandwich because it has great flavor and the leaves are much more delicate and tender than most standard lettuces. The garlic, herbs and maple syrup are a MUST. Do not, under any circumstances, skip over these seemingly innocuous components as they are key to taking this sandwich from good to great.
Music Pairing: Joni Mitchell, All I Want (from the soundtrack of The Kids Are All Right)
- 4 slices sourdough bread, sliced 1/2-3/4 inch thick
- 4-6 slices good quality thick-cut bacon
- Real maple syrup
- 1 large heirloom tomato
- Lettuce leaves from Bibb lettuce
- 2 free range organic eggs
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 large garlic clove, sliced in half
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- Fresh parsley and oregano leaves
- Fleur de sel or kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
Preparing the Bacon
Cook bacon in a skillet over low heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. While still warm, brush lightly with maple syrup. Set aside.
Frying the Eggs
Crack each egg into its own small bowl to check that the yolks aren’t broken. In two, 6-inch non-stick skillets, melt half of butter over medium-high heat until it starts to bubble. Pour 1 egg into each pan, being careful not to break the yolks. Add a teaspoon of water to each pan and sprinkle with fleur de sel. Cook eggs for 3 minutes for a soft-cooked egg and 5-6 minutes for a firmer egg.
Assembling the Sandwiches
Lightly toast bread and rub with garlic clove while warm. Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on each toasted slice. Carefully stack the lettuce, herbs, tomato, bacon and cooked egg onto one slice. Sprinkle with freshly crack black pepper. Top with second slice and cut in half. Enjoy immediately.