ultimate BLT

Lindsey Bareham

One of the hazards of a good BLT is that all the ingredients skid about on a slide of mayo. Well, they should do. This is an occasion when you have to be generous with everything, and that includes mayonnaise. The bacon — I like thin rashers of streaky — must be very crisp, cut in half so that when you bite into the sandwich you don’t drag the whole rasher out. Preferred lettuce would be hearts of little gem, cos or romaine, which have flavour as well as crispness. Never iceberg, which can be tasteless.

serves 2, prep 10 min, cook 10 min

8 (at least) rashers rindless, thin streaky bacon
4 vine tomatoes
2 little gem, baby cos or romaine lettuce hearts
4 drips Tabasco (optional)
4 tbsp mayonnaise
4 thick slices from the middle of a fresh country-style white loaf

Preheat the grill. Cut the bacon rashers in half and grill crisp on both sides. Put on kitchen paper to drain. Meanwhile, get everything else ready. Cut the core out of the tomatoes in a pointed plug shape. Halve and slice thickly. Shred across the lettuce about 1cm wide. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Stir the Tabasco into the mayo.

When the bacon is just about ready, toast the bread. Spread lightly with butter then generously with mayo, going right up to the crust. Pile the lettuce on two slices. Cover with tomato. Season lightly with salt and generously with black pepper. Arrange the bacon on top and position the lid. Press firmly together with the flat of your hand and slice in half with a sharp knife — not a bread knife, which will disrupt the contents. Keep the second half warm under a napkin while you eat the first.