It’s summer, but the heirloom tomatoes are just not quite ready yet and I’m craving a BLT. Using a good Heirloom Tomato Jam for a spread was the ticket today for an awesome out-of-season BLT. Made with a soft, doughy egg bread, some arugula, and thick crispy bacon, I satisfied the BLT craving and more.
The Tomato Jam:
Here in Minnesota we don’t usually get large ripe heirloom tomatoes until August. Because heirloom tomatoes are one of my main crops at the farm, we had plenty to freeze last year and have been making them into jam all winter.
I also grow a range of hot peppers, and smoked a lot of the jalapenos last year, giving me a large supply of chipotles. Once the peppers are smoked and dried, they last forever, and I have found many culinary uses for them over the winter and spring. We also pulverize the dried chipotles in a coffee grinder and use a little in HeathGlen’s Heirloom Tomato Jam, which gives it a delightful smoky kick.
I had a wonderful dinner last week at a restaurant in Minneapolis called Saffron and they used a bit of saffron (of course) in their tomato jam. It was excellent, but I can’t grow saffron at the farm (unfortunately). Home-smoked jalapenos, or chipotles, is something I can grow and make however, and they add excellent flavor to a tomato jam. Not better or worse than the saffron-infusion, but different.
Recipe for Pre-Season Tomato Jam “BLT”
- 4 slices egg bread or brioche, (or your favorite bread)
- 2-3 slices thick bacon
- 1-2 Tbsp tomato jam
- 4 large leaves fresh arugula
- 1 tsp Hellmans mayonaise
- Get all your ingredients out so you can make the sandwich while the toast is still warm (mise en place). Turn on your oven broiler.
- Generally you cook the bacon in a cast iron skillet over the stovetop, turning often, until it is as crispy as you like it. I wanted to get the bacon to stay flat for the sandwich, so I cooked it in my Cuisinart Griddler, which has a top and bottom griddle plate similar to a panini-maker. It worked like a charm, giving me flat but crispy bacon. Drain the bacon on paper towels.
- Cut the crusts off of the bread and place the bread on a cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet under the broiler for a couple of minutes until it is light brown toast. Turn and toast the other side.
- Assemble the sandwich. Place a bit of mayonaise on one side of the toast and the tomato jam on the other piece of toast. Top the mayonaise with arugula and then the bacon. Place the other piece of toast (tomato spread side down) on the bacon toast and you have an awesome out-of-season BLT
I’ve used HeathGlen’s Heirloom Tomato Jam as the specialty spread, but you can use any good tomato jam that you can find. Ours has a little bit of spice from our smoked jalapenos.
Enjoy these till the real tomatoes come in!