RECIPE: Make a delicious BLT with out-of-season tomatoes
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By G Daniela Galarza
FOR many of us, fresh tomatoes are inseparable from summer. I remember helping my mom with our backyard vines when I was a kid, watching seedlings sprout and grow tall in the sunshine, counting the fruit, weighing them in my small palms, waiting for them to turn bright red. We'd often eat them in bacon, lettuce and tomato toast, packed with crunchy iceberg lettuce and crisp bacon, a thick smear of mayonnaise catching the fruit's sweet and grassy juices.
These days, after stuffing my face with fresh tomatoes in every form in summer, I start longing for them again in winter when, of course, they're months away from being ready. Greenhouse tomatoes are ever-present - they're a tease, often watery and dull. But there's a way to make them shine.
BLT sandwiches are one of summer's fleeting joys, best eaten when tomatoes are at their peak. This version is designed for winter, or any time a good, fresh tomato is hard to find. Any greenhouse tomato will work in this recipe, but cherry or grape varieties sweeten reliably in the oven, especially when lightly dressed with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.
Winter BLTs (Serves 4)
450g grape or cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (about 8 grinds)
340g thinly sliced bacon
8 slices bread of your choice
4 tablespoons mayonnaise, divided
8 leaves green or red lettuce
Position two racks so they are roughly in the centre of the oven, with space between them, and preheat to 200 degrees.
Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with aluminium foil. Place the tomatoes on one sheet and drizzle them with the olive oil and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. On the other sheet, lay the bacon in one evenly spaced layer. Transfer both sheets to the oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes have wilted and their juices have thickened, and the bacon is crisp or is done to your liking.
Remove the bacon and tomatoes from the oven and cool slightly. Drain the bacon on paper towels, if desired.
Meanwhile, toast the bread, if desired. Spread a tablespoon of the mayonnaise on four slices of bread. Lay a few roasted tomatoes on the remaining four slices of bread, followed by a few slices of bacon and lettuce. Top with the mayonnaise-covered slices and serve.
The Washington Post