Does Your BLT Need an Omelet in the Middle? This DC Chef Says Yes.
We’ve got Mike Friedman's recipe for the BLT+E
Despite its eternal spot on diner breakfast plates — and more modern inclusion with anything from ice cream to chocolate truffles — we maintain that there’s no better way to eat bacon than on a BLT. (Anyone who disagrees is welcome to come fight us. Bring bacon.) Smoky, rich, and luxuriously fatty and crisp in equal measure, bacon is the ideal foil for fresh, juicy tomatoes and crisp lettuce, with a thin layer of mayo providing the perfect bread barrier to keep everything intact for the time it takes to devour this king of bacon-delivery vehicles.
Chef Mike Friedman of All-Purpose agrees.
“Growing up in New Jersey, summertime meant BLTs and tomato sandwiches!” says Friedman. “To this day, it’s still one of my favorites.”
That said, he’s come up with a way to improve on the classic. At his Riverfront restaurant, the B, L and T are joined by E: a layer of egg cooked into a small, perfect omelet, transforming the BLT into a top-notch brunchtime offering.
At the restaurant, his sandwich starts with Nueske’s bacon from Wisconsin, which is smoked for 24 hours over applewood. “It has an amazing smoke flavor and is meaty without being too fatty,” he says. He keeps the other two elements simple: juicy, ripe tomatoes and iceberg lettuce, which, for Friedman, affords the ideal textural contrast.
“Iceberg lettuce definitely gets a bad rap, but for me, it’s one of my favorites,” he says. “As it lacks in major flavor, iceberg is successful in capturing maximum flavor for whatever ingredients you’re mixing with it. Served cold, its crunchy texture is exciting and satisfying while not overpowering other additions in the dish. I’m Team Iceberg!”
The ciabatta or focaccia he calls for may be richer choices of bread than simple white toast, but they manage to stand up to the hefty fillings, including a house-made aioli infused with fresh basil vinaigrette. Any leftovers of either condiment are great staples to have on-hand, according to the chef, who suggests using any leftover aioli as a dip for roasted potatoes or grilled fish and vinaigrette as a marinade or a dressing for salad. (Maybe crumble some bacon over the top, too.)
Chef Mike Friedman’s BLT+E Recipe
- 3 slices good-quality smoky bacon
- 2 large farm eggs
- Pinch of kosher salt
- A couple of cracks of black pepper
- 1 Tbsp. good-quality olive oil
- 1 small ciabatta loaf or focaccia
- 2 Tbsp. basil aioli (recipe follows)
- 3 thick red tomato slices, seasoned with salt and black pepper
- ¼ cup shredded iceberg lettuce
- Preheat the oven to 350º F. Lay the bacon on a sheet pan and bake until crispy, about 10-15 minutes. Keep checking to make sure the bacon is cooking evenly and not burning.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with salt and pepper. In a nonstick pan, heat the olive oil over medium flame. Add the whisked eggs and stir with a spatula until the eggs begin to set. Let the eggs set for a moment, and then fold the eggs over themselves until a small omelet forms. Slide the eggs onto a plate and let rest for one minute.
- Meanwhile, slice the ciabatta loaf in half and toast until golden brown.
- To build the sandwich, smear 1 tablespoon of the basil aioli on the bottom side of the loaf. Add the eggs and bacon. Lay on the tomato slices, then the lettuce. Slather the top side of ciabatta with the other tablespoon of basil aioli, and place it on the sandwich. Enjoy immediately!
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 cup basil vinaigrette (recipe follows)
- ¾ cup canola oil
- Add egg yolks, mustard and lemon juice to a food processor and blend.
- Pour the basil vinaigrette and canola oil into a pouring vessel. Slowly introduce the oil blend to create an emulsification. Add warm water as needed to achieve a smooth, thick consistency.
- Package into a sealable container and refrigerate. The aioli will keep in the refrigerator for one week.
- 1 packed cup picked basil leaves
- ½ packed cup parsley
- 1 small garlic clove
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp. champagne vinegar
- 1½ cups canola oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Add all the ingredients to a blender. Blend on high for one minute, until the vinaigrette is smooth.
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