I’ve been frequenting a cafe that I’m pretty sure I’m falling in love with, and it turns out they just so happen to make the best BLT I’ve stumbled across in my life. If you are weirded out by hearing someone wax poetic about a sandwich, skip this post. But if you’re curious to see what kind of sandwich would compel me to return to a place and order it week after week, read on.
Previous to this, I was what you might consider a BLT purist. The bacon was to be thin, crispy and unadorned. The lettuce, iceberg and lots of it. And finally the tomato…well, let’s just say I would rather they be left out altogether. Unlike seemingly everyone else I knew, I felt they were more of a nuisance than anything else. Watery and uninteresting, they just kind of were there, like a pity invite to a dinner party. For me, it was really all about the interplay of the toasted bread, crisp lettuce and salty bacon, all tied up like a present with a Hellman’s blue bow. And I was happy with things just like that – or so I thought.
Enter Logan Square’s Same Day Cafe, a modern take on the neighborhood spot housed in a former dry cleaner’s storefront. Aside from spectacular house-made sodas and an impeccable record selection, they’ve got a small but mighty cafe menu. For their BLT, they’ve swapped out the thin and brittle diner bacon of my youth with a thick cut maple-glazed variety and the iceberg for a fistful of peppery arugula. Once merely tolerated, the tomatoes (brown Kumatos in this case) add just the right juicy, vegetal heft; so much so that they’ll drip down your wrists if you don’t eat quickly enough. After their rosemary studded sandwich bread is toasted, slathered with tarragon mayo and piled high with the other ingredients, the sum is far greater than it’s parts. This is the kind of barely-cooking that intrigues me the most, so I set about recreating this in my own kitchen. I won’t stop going to Same Day anytime soon, but let’s just say that if the craving strikes, I’ll be ready!
Same Day BLT
- 4 slices of soft white sandwich bread, toasted
- 1 recipe spicy glazed bacon
- 2 ripe tomatoes (Kumatos if you can find them)
- 1 cup baby arugula leaves
- 1 recipe herbed mayonnaise
Herbed Mayonnaise Ingredients:
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 large sprig fresh tarragon
- 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
Spicy Glazed Bacon Ingredients:
- 4 slices thick-cut applewood smoked bacon
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
Preheat your oven to 375ºF. Bake bacon on a wire rack placed over a foiled pan for 10 minutes, or until fat has been mostly rendered. While the bacon cooks, slice the tomatoes in rounds and sprinkle with salt so that some of the moisture is drawn out and their flavor has a chance to concentrate. Strip and finely mince the herbs, and stir into a small bowl with the mayonnaise. Set aside.
In another small bowl, mix together the Sriracha and maple syrup. Remove the bacon from the oven and brush generously with the glaze. Return bacon to oven and roast until burnished and crisp, 2-4 more minutes. Remove from the oven.
Drain the tomatoes, and working quickly assemble the sandwiches by spreading a generous layer of the herbed mayonnaise on each slice of bread and pile on the tomatoes, arugula and bacon. Serve each sandwich warm, with a side of your favorite chips and a sigh of contentment.