Eat (and drink) your bacon while the tomatoes are perfect

With garden-fresh tomato victims chosen, it's time to make BLTs.

There's another reason why summer tomatoes rule, and I can't believe I haven't written an ode to it yet.

BLTs, with big emphasis on the "B."

Fresh salsa is a wonderful thing — especially as dinner — but seriously, does it get any better than a huge hunk of fresh summer-tomato "steak" smooshed together with crisp lettuce and, of course, that salty, smoky wonder, bacon? Crisp bacon offers a fantastic answer to the fruity texture of tomatoes to create a sandwich that's not too gushy, not too dry. Lettuce (go for Bibb or Boston) gently fleshes the whole thing out with a little help from the smallest of schmears of mayo on your sandwich bread (preferably a nice sourdough, for me).

Plus, when you grill up your bacon, you get to enjoy at least a day of the residual bacon-y aromas in the house. You really can't lose with calling a BLT Day at the homestead.

This list of New York magazine's best BLTs offer some variations on this classic sammie. Right here in New London, the lunch counter at Thames River Greenery on State St. offers its own take on the BLT with its Turkey BLT, a standard BLT piled high with turkey — and it's very, very good. But here's what I say is non-negotiable: brandywine tomatoes as your T and good quality bacon (duh; one might say all bacon is good, and I can't really argue with that, but GREAT bacon is miraculous)—all the better if you can get it fresh. (Thanks Cliff's!)

And if you think I'm a fan of the BLT, check out this guy.

Now, while we're on the subject of bacon, I recently received a sample of a concoction called Bakon Vodka; i.e., vodka infused with — you guessed it — bacon flavor. Thus far I've only stared suspiciously at the box it arrived in, but I'm planning to have a tasting and at least attempt the company's recipe for a Bakon Mary, sort of a BLT version of a Bloody Mary, or what cool mixologist types call a "carnivorous cocktail" (ew). Details to come, but if anyone out there has tried this stuff, give a shout.

All bacon should come wrapped in white butcher paper. Generous slices courtesy of Cliff's in Essex.
All bacon should come wrapped in white butcher paper. Generous slices courtesy of Cliff's in Essex.
Now I'm just bragging. We grew this!
Now I'm just bragging. We grew this!

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