Nothing says summer like a good BLT! In case you don’t know, BLT stands for bacon, lettuce and tomato. My love affair with the BLT started when I was just a youngster. My family could not wait for summer to arrive so that we could indulge in our favorite sandwich.
For me BLTs are definitely a seasonal food. It’s a simple sandwich with just a few ingredients – bread, mayonnaise, bacon, lettuce and tomato. Now, there are some specifics about these ingredients. The bread is usually white and lightly toasted. Even though I use a variety of greens when I have a salad, it’s iceberg lettuce for me on a BLT. I love the crunchiness of it. The bacon needs to be good quality bacon – thick preferably – and cooked crispy. Then there is the star of the show – the tomato. This is why I consider a BLT to be seasonal. You’ve got to have nice, homegrown garden tomatoes, not the inferior kind that we get in the winter. I also like a lot of pepper on my BLT, so I often use peppered bacon. Yum!
The BLT and the Club sandwich evolved around the same time. The ingredients have existed for many years, but there is little evidence of BLT sandwich recipes prior to 1900. Research shows (bet you didn’t know you could research BLTs!) that the composition of the BLT and Club were very similar in the beginning. The 1903 Good Housekeeping Everyday Cook Book had a recipe for a club sandwich made of bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and a slice of turkey sandwiched between two slices of bread. Take away the turkey and you have the BLT. Of course, the Club sandwich of today has all of the above ingredients, plus ham and an extra slice of bread.
The BLT became popular after WWII because of the rapid expansion of supermarkets, which allowed the availability of ingredients year-round. The initials BLT were most likely used as shorthand in the American restaurant industry. It eventually became the official name for the sandwich.
I have to admit that the Club sandwich runs a close second to the BLT in my mind. But the BLT with its juicy tomato, crisp lettuce and crunchy bacon cannot be beat!