Happy Friday, y’all! I want to formally invite you to a new segment I like to call, “Kiley’s Kitchen.” Oh my God, I’m obsessed.
If you haven’t already noticed because you are either daft or positively blind, there are fresh farmer’s markets all over your town, no matter the city you live in. Not only is it important to visit them in order to support the local food movement, but you also get the freshest ingredients that are (key!) in season, as opposed to usually modified produce in your grocery store.
Now, because my guilty pleasure is the excitement of competition cooking shows, I found myself hungry – heh – for a new culinary challenge. I was pressed to find a recipe that was easy enough for a fifth grader and also stimulated my summer spirit, mentally. As I watched my already married, future husband Michael Symon, future gay husband Clinton Kelly, the blonder and mother-er version of myself, Daphne Oz, and my two primetime best friends Mario Batali and Carla Hall on my end all favorite show, “The Chew,” I could tell that Mario was speaking to me directly, and that’s when it happened. The clouds parted, the heavens opened up and the angels sang! I had found my recipe.
I typically would not share this with you, in an effort to preserve the very best tips and tricks for myself, but this was just too good and easy to withhold from my people. It is one more thing you have to try, especially since you probably have more than half of the ingredients in your kitchen at this very second.
Farmer’s Market BLT
What you’ll need:
- 1/2 pound Bacon
- Olive Oil
- 4 Tomatoes (mixed varieties if available)
- Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
- 1/2 cup Cornmeal
- 1 Egg (whisked)
- 8 slices of your favorite bread
- 3 tablespoons Honey
- Green Leaf Lettuce
For the Romesco (unclear) Aioli:
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 6 Egg Yolks
- Pinch Chile Flakes
- 1/3 cup Slivered Almonds
- 4 Jarred Roasted Red Peppers
- Squeeze Lemon Juice
- Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
- 3/4 cup Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup Reserved Bacon Fat
Step 1: Decide which ingredients to respectfully botch because you are the chef and this kitchen is your oyster. For example, the slivered almonds just were not vibing well with my energy, so I said, “Sayonara, see you in the next life,” to the almonds and kissed their asses goodbye.
Step 2: Set up a little audience with cocktails for a very select and prestigious few (your parents) in a very Rachael Ray fashion, so that you have someone to “Oo” and “Ah” at you during your performance.
Step 3: Cook the bacon (have your dad cook the bacon because impending grease splatter is not good for the skin), and when the bacon is almost done, drizzle honey over top. Let cook for one extra minute in order to caramelize. Just to anger my health nut friends, save the bacon fat for the aioli you are going to make later.
Step 4: Fill one small bowl with a whisked egg and another small bowl with your cornmeal. Slice up half of your tomatoes, or slice up one variety of tomato if you decided to use two – bonus points for adventure! Egg wash tomatoes appropriately and dip into cornmeal, because we’re going to fry up those beautiful sides to a nice golden brown, YES!
Step 5: Can you read? I said we’re going to fry up the tomatoes. So heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add the coated tomatoes and cook until you get the beautiful golden brown I was talking about on both sides. Drain on a paper towel lined plate. CUTE.
Step 6: Season the remaining tomatoes that you haven’t used with salt and pepper according to taste and set aside because it’s aioli time, toots!
Step 7: Combine all ingredients sans bacon fat and olive oil in a Cuisinart food processor because it’s the only food processor. Once smooth, add the olive oil and bacon fat in a “slow, steady stream.” (Note: that phrase actually makes me seriously uncomfortable, so it would behoove you to not say those words out loud or just skip that step entirely. Like I said, the world is your oyster/food processor filled with grease.) Season with salt and pepper.
Step 8: Assemble. Place a slice of each type of tomato on your slices of bread. Top with bacon, lettuce, pickles, and a dollop of the aioli. I also added a drizzle of honey over top, although the recipe does not call for that, but do it. Sandwich with the remaining bread and voilà, you are a chef!
I hope this satisfies your taste for both succulence and adventure, like it did mine. If you feel the need to repay me for this amazing recipe, my birthday is coming up on August 12th and the only thing I humbly ask for is a St. Bernard or, at the very least, a Chinese Giant Panda cub.