Monday, July 20, 2009

In search of the perfect tomatoes for a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich


Saturday morning we woke up dreaming of a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich for lunch made with the finest, freshest tomatoes we could find. We decided to go to downtown to the Farmers Market and see if they had some heirloom tomatoes, preferable Cherokee Purples, for our sandwich.


Every Saturday morning farmers, potters, artists, weavers and gardeners gather in downtown Murphy in the mountains of western North Carolina to sell their wares. It’s always a festive affair with balloons, kids waving posters in the street advertising a car wash, and this week the Marines were having a fundraiser. This is a typical small town in America on Saturday morning.


Our mission was to find tomatoes for lunch so our first stop was the organic food booth of Frances and Stephen of Candy Mountain Farms. They have gorgeous fresh produce and know their stuff when it comes to gardening. In fact Frances teaches an organic gardening class at the John F. Campbell Folk School in nearby Brasstown.


I could taste the bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich we would soon be enjoying for lunch as we purchased a couple of heirloom, dark ruby colored Cherokee purple tomatoes, a head of bright green Bibb lettuce with dew still clinging to its leaves and a bunch of just cut sweet basil from Frances. While at their booth my husband visited with a another gentleman who was selling juicy red tomatoes fresh from his garden, so we bought a few of his to supplement the small yellow Golden Jubilees we had picked earlier from our own garden. A trio of colorful red, purple and yellow tomatoes sounded perfect for our sandwich.


We can’t go to the Farmers Market without stopping by two of our other favorite booths to say hello. In small towns all across American such as this, everyone knows just about everyone. Our first stop after the tomatoes was The Secret Garden, a weaver who has gorgeous handmade scarves and shawls along with other goodies, such as a teddy bear looking very handsome wearing one of her beautiful sweaters. I mentioned how much I enjoy wearing the golden yellow shawl I purchased from her last year while my husband bought a bag of her fragrant lavender potpourri. We admired others handy work as we strolled over to say hi to Roy and see his pottery. I would love to have one of his dark red rectangular bakers, which would be perfect for lasagna.

There’s nothing that says summer more than a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich and a recipe isn’t required.


What is required is to use the very finest of ingredients and sit back and enjoy the results as the tomato juice runs down your chin as you take your first bite. We cooked thick applewood smoked bacon and made basil mayonnaise by mixing best quality mayonnaise such as Hellmann's with chopped fresh sweet basil, a dash of fresh lemon juice and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. This is not the time to use low-fat or inexpensive mayo. Remember, we said the very finest ingredients possible. Often we use sourdough toast for these sandwiches, but today we chose fat Kaiser rolls that we buttered and grilled.

Small town living doesn’t get any better than this on a beautiful Saturday morning in the mountains of North Carolina.

39 comments:

  1. I'd go out of my way for a real BTL snadwich - with ingredients that are worth a detour!
    Now, to reply to your question in my post, from what I see, the granite Yamazaki serves is just iced water. They make a mound on the bowl and then they pour over a light syrup.
    Light syrups are very common in France. When children are young, they are given "grenadine" or "mint" syrup with water as a snack treat. You can also order in a bistrot "un syrop de grenadine".
    I have seen "granites" where the water is scented with lemon, or mint, or whetever, but here they seem to add the syrup afterwards.
    I promise I will ask next time I go!

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  2. A great, fresh, BLT...nothing is any better in the summer!!

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  3. Sam, Thanks. I know what I will have for lunch today.

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  4. I would love to live back in a small town. It looks so peaceful! I hate the city but I'm stuck here for now.

    I love heirloom tomatoes! I'm like you, once in a while I just totally crave a BLT! I have loved them since I was a kid. My kids won't touch them. I don't get it???

    Your mayo is a great idea too!

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  5. I loved your tour of your local farmer's market. Those tomatoes and the sandwich you made with them are to die for. Cereal is not going to work for me this morning :-).

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  6. Well I'm starving now : ) One of my favorite sandwiches!

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  7. I know what I am having for my supper now :) You could talk me into eating fresh market tomatoes and rusty nails...well not the tomatoes...my grandmother got me hooked on those with her garden fresh beef steak tomatoes...

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  8. Oh my, that looks wonderful! Cherokee Purples are my first choice too -- I'm waiting on ours to ripen.
    Love the idea of adding basil to the mayo.

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  9. Great excursion! I love the exotic names of all those lovely heirloom tomatoes!

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  10. Can you believe it, I have never had an heirloom tomato, sigh!!!!
    This sandwich was well worth the effort!!!
    My favorite tomato is a Italian Plum tomato....out of my own garden!!!

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  11. Sam,
    I enjoyed this posting very much. There's nothing any better than bacon, lettuce, and a tomato sandwich. I love this sandwich. Thanks for bringing back a lot of good memories.

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  12. Oh man, I am drooling while reading about those sandwiches. Love fresh heirloom tomatoes. I'll have to try the basil in mayonnaise.

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  13. I envy you, our Farm Market is not as great as yours. I miss Montreal's market. We had so much choice. All the tomatoes that you have. Beautiful. And that sandwich looks perfect.

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  14. The teddy bear looks so cute :)

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  15. I cant stop buying tomatoes..they are so good right now. You convinced me to have a BLT for lunch tomorrow!!!!Figtreeapps

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  16. For fresh products, farmer markets are the best! Your sandwich looks delicious :)

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  17. How you manage to make my mouth water...xv

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  18. Gorgeous!! There seriously isn't much better than a juicy heirloom tomato...well, other than a juicy heirloom tomato on a BLT!! Looks amazing Sam...and I love your Farmer's Market pics...wish I was at one right now. :)

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  19. I have been hooked on BLTs lately. They can't be beat!

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  20. There is something about bacon that making me addicted to it. Maybe because I didn't grow up eating bacon. In fact, I only knew bacon when I came to USA years back. Since then, there is not turning back. I love it so much, including this BLT sandwich.

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  21. You hit it perfectly-the tomato is the key! I think it's great you got out for the day in search of the best tomatoes for the sandwich!

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  22. I wish I could go to the local farmer's market more often...your BLT looks fantastic...yummie!

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  23. Oh be still my heart! Sam - GREAT post!!! We have a major love affair going with BLTs here at my house also.

    And I love our little Watauga County Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings. I'm going to "borrow" your clever idea and blog about it soon and I'm going to send folks here to read your blog, which I adore!

    And one more thing! Since we've shared some thoughts on recipes and cookbooks lately, are you familiar with "Being Dead is No Excuse : The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral." I think you'd love it.

    Kaye

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  24. The sandwich looks beautifully delicious and I love the lead-in to it. Nice photos of the farmer's market. I have just discovered applewood smoked bacon (sold at our local farmer's market).

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  25. Hi from a fellow Tar Heel! You live in one of my favorite parts of the state. I love the sound of a classic BLT, and the lettuce looks perfect.

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  26. Oh my goodness! Heirloom tomatoes in a BLT...how perfect the thought, the photo, the taste (in my imagination!) Thanks for stopping by my blog and I promise to visit you MORE often! Roz (aka bella)

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  27. I cant decide which I like better, the absolutely quality BLT or the views of small town America. Makes me want to come and live there. It is utterly charming!

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  28. What an excellent BLT!!!!

    I love your lovely pictures!!!

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  29. Looks so amazing and tasty:)

    Thanks for sharing your recipe:)
    Your blog look so Beautiful :)

    Have a wonderful Day:)

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  30. Juicy crunchy goood! Nothing better than a good BLT. I will have to keep my eye out for some of those Cherokee Purples.

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  31. Sam,
    There's nothing better than a BLT. Thanks for the tour of the farmer's market. We're getting some yellow and red tomatoes from our garden and I just love those tomato sandwiches. I always enjoy visiting your blog.

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  32. Now that is a wonderful way to spend Saturday mornings.Your BLT sandwich really looks delicious.I'd love to guide our readers to your site if you won't mind.Just add your choice of foodista widget to this post and it's all set to go, Thanks!

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  33. In summer, the perfect BT (we omit the lettuce) is often lunch. We are always so happy when the tomatoes start coming to the Farmer's Market. We like the heirloom ones as well -- so much flavor!

    I could almost taste yours!

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  34. Sam, you make my mouth water with this post. I grew up eating BLTs and still love them. Never did the Basil Mayo, but I agree, nothing but the real thing for a delicious sandwich like this.
    Your photos are great!

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  35. You said it....life doesn't get any better than life in the NC mountains in summer....I'm not sure how recently you've visited my blog, but we were graced with the opportunity to visit the Western NC mountains a few weeks ago and I just posted only a few photos. It is truly God's country....simply breathtaking! Is the area that you mention far from the Boone/Blowing Rock/Banner Elk area where we stayed. We have every desire to return annually (hope you don't mind!) Plus, we as small farmers truly embrace the notion of buying and supporting fresh local 'heritage/heirloom' fruits and vegetables! We're not Carolina "native", but rather Iowans, in love with the bounty of our land, and have so fallen in love with the Carolinas, both North and South! Bye for now, Roz (aka Bella)

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  36. You said it....life doesn't get any better than life in the NC mountains in summer....I'm not sure how recently you've visited my blog, but we were graced with the opportunity to visit the Western NC mountains a few weeks ago and I just posted only a few photos. It is truly God's country....simply breathtaking! Is the area that you mention far from the Boone/Blowing Rock/Banner Elk area where we stayed. We have every desire to return annually (hope you don't mind!) Plus, we as small farmers truly embrace the notion of buying and supporting fresh local 'heritage/heirloom' fruits and vegetables! We're not Carolina "native", but rather Iowans, in love with the bounty of our land, and have so fallen in love with the Carolinas, both North and South! Bye for now, Roz (aka Bella)

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  37. The Cherokee Purple is my idea of the perfect tomato for a BLT...or for just about anything. I miss having them since we haven't planted our garden now is two years. I pick them up whenever I can at our Farmers Market...whatever the cost!

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I enjoy reading each and every comment. I appreciate your taking the time to visit my blog and I hope you'll return again soon.
Sam