There's something strangely decadent about a good BLT. Maybe it's that all three major ingredients are usually considered to be garnishes, or maybe it has something to do with its old-world, lunch on the company dime image, or it could be because making them is dirt simple, but making them well takes a delicate combination of skill (okay, not so much skill) and surprisingly pricey ingredients.
There's also the dilution factor - the term is so universal that it has sprouted hangers-on - BARTs (with avocado), ALTs (with avocado and without bacon), M (or P)LTs (Portabello mushrooms) and tons more. Pale imitations in my opinion that're enraptured with an awesome acronym, but that's neither here nor there.
All you really need for a traditional BLT is fresh, crisp romaine lettuce, sweet extra-cold tomatoes, good mayo and the leanest, smokiest bacon you can afford. But recently I've been looking for ways to enliven the traditional recipe without having me stray into scary acronym territory. It took me awhile to do it in a way I was linquistically happy with, but I managed. It's easy, it's filling and it tastes markedly different from the original while still being comfy and familiar.
The secret, for the impatient, is to ditch the mayo and make your own sauce.
Put your bacon in a cold pan over low to medium heat. The cold pan is important - bacon burns if it cooks too fast and it happens in the blink of an eye, so start slow and don't leave it unattended. Turn it frequently, and make sure the pan doesn't get so hot that the bacon grease starts to burn; you're gonna need that stuff. (yeah, I can hear your arteries slamming shut from here. You're welcome.)
When the bacon's about half done (just guess) push it to one side of the pan and add a handful of finely chopped red onion to the bacon grease on the other side. Keep 'em cookin', letting the bacon crisp slightly and the onions brown. Don't burn anything; bacon's usually done about three minutes before you think it is, and you want it to be thoroughly cooked but floppy.
Take the bacon out of the pan and drain it on paper towels. Drain most (but not all) of the grease from the pan, too, leaving just enough to continue cooking the onions in. When the onions start to brown, lower the heat to low, add a bigish pinch of fresh sage and salt and pepper. Let that commingle for a bit, then add a dollop of sour cream to the pan.
The sour cream with burn if you're not careful, so stir it, the remaining bacon grease, the onions and the spices together with a wooden spoon until they're throroughly combined. It should be a light brown color and have this wonderfully fragrant, slightly oniony aroma. keep cooking it over low heat, scraping constantly, until most of the excess moisture has cooked away, leaving you with a nutty brownish paste. Kill the heat.
Now. Grab a couple of slices of toasted bread (I like good, seeded Jewish rye for this, though white is surprisingly tasty) spoon the sauce on one of 'em, spread it thin with a knife and add a layer of tomato and a couple leaves of romaine. Pile the bacon onto the other slice, flip one onto the other and eat away.
I still like the good 'ol BLT of the days of yore, but this one's good for a change to keep your bacon intake at a level the FDA would approve of.
You can use that sauce for other things, too - it's good with mushrooms on pasta, or as a dipping sauce for fried spicy things, or...you get the idea. It's just a waste of good bacon otherwise. Unless you have a coffee can full 'o grease by your stove, that is. What, doesn't everybody?