Bacon. Lettuce. Tomato. Summer’s iconic sandwich doesn’t really need an introduction, or a recipe. The name says it all. Well, almost all.
For a sandwich this simple, there is one very important rule. If you want your BLT to be all it can be, every element must be good. No, not just good. It must be great.
I can usually get everything I need at my favorite place to shop in the summer, the farmers market. That’s where I know I will find a ripe, juicy, flavorful tomato, fresh, crisp lettuce, locally smoked bacon and artisanal bread, handmade by a skilled baker.
The farmers market is one-stop shopping when it comes to the ultimate BLT. It’s also a good place to get inspired when you’re in the mood to gild the BLT lily, which is exactly what I’ve done with this week’s recipe, Grilled Chicken BLT With Corn-Basil Mayo.
While a good heirloom tomato will always be the queen of summer produce, at least in my mind, sweet corn is undoubtedly the king. So, for an over-the-top BLT, it only makes sense to combine them.
In this recipe, I’ve grilled the corn until slightly charred before cutting the kernels off the cob and mixing them up with a generous amount of mayo (mayo — and lots of it — is critical for a good BLT), fresh chopped basil and a splash of lemon juice to highlight all the flavors.
Since the grill is already fired up, I also introduce another protein, which makes this sandwich heartier than the traditional version. While I almost never cook with boneless, skinless chicken, as it’s not as flavorful as a thigh or leg, its neutral nature is an advantage in this instance. The simply seasoned breast picks up the smokiness of the grill and highlights the other ingredients in the sandwich, instead of overwhelming them.
The result is a next-level BLT that must be enjoyed at the height of summer when the stars align, and every ingredient is at its very best.
Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Instagram at @meredithdeeds.
Grilled Chicken BLT With Charred Corn-Basil Mayo
Makes 4 sandwiches.
Note: Grilled corn mayo, studded with fresh basil, gives this ultimate BLT a smoky summer flavor. The addition of grilled chicken makes this sandwich hearty enough for the hungriest crew. From Meredith Deeds.
• 2 ears corn, husks removed
• 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 lb. total)
• 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• 1 tsp. salt, divided
• 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
• 8 slices (3/4-inch thick) rustic Italian bread
• 1/3 c. mayonnaise
• 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
• 1/4 c. fresh basil leaves, chopped
• 8 slices cooked, thick-cut bacon
• 2 medium ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/4-in. thick
• Lettuce leaves
Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Lightly oil grate. Place the corn directly over a very hot fire, and grill, turning occasionally, until it’s charred and cooked through, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board.
Brush both sides of the chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place chicken on grill and cook, turning once halfway through, until cooked through, about 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes.
Brush the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil on both sides of the bread slices. Grill until lightly toasted on both sides, about 1 minute a side.
Slice the chicken breasts into 1/2-inch slices, crosswise, on the diagonal. Season the tomato slices with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Cut the kernels off the cobs. Chop them finely and transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in mayonnaise, lemon juice, basil and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Spread the mayo mixture over each slice of bread. Top 4 of the slices with chicken, bacon, tomatoes and lettuce. Close up sandwiches and slice in half crosswise.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 725 Fat 39 g Sodium 1,570 mg Carbohydrates 44 g Saturated fat 8 g Added sugars 2 g
Protein 49 g Cholesterol 120 mg Dietary fiber 4 g
Exchanges per serving: 3 starch, 5 ½ medium-fat protein, 1 ½ fat.