blt {with a little zip}

A BLT is one of the easiest sandwiches to make and is also one that almost everyone likes personalize.  Maybe it’s the kind of bacon or bread; the addition of avocado or {gasp} cheese.  The slightest variances can make a big difference in taste. The amount of bread toasting; the doneness of the bacon. They all change the blt experiece.   Personally, I like my bacon pretty well done but not crunchy!  If the bacon falls apart when you bite into it, it’s just a waste. And I like just a medium toast on the bread so that it remains a little chewy and doesn’t feel like a rasp on the roof of my mouth. I know; I’m very particular. You’re probably not as picky as my but if you like BLTs I think you’ll like my take on this classic sandwich, which features tomato jam in place of fresh tomato slices.  I prefer thick cut smoked bacon {Hempler’s is my favorite} but with the addition of the tomato jam I find arugula, instead of lettuce, adds a needed nice, light peppery complement. You can make the jam a day in advance – just keep it in an airtight container and let it get to room temperature before using.  PS: This is a good version to make when tomatoes aren’t in season because you can adjust the amount of sugar you add to the jam.  

Tomato Jam, Bacon + Arugula Sandwich
serves four

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 ½ cups tomatoes, diced {I used cherry tomatoes cut into quarters}
1 tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ Kosher salt
¼ freshly ground black pepper
16 slices thick cut bacon
8 slices bread of your choice
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 cups baby arugula leaves

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic; saute until softened but not browned – about 3-4 minutes. Add tomatoes, sugar, thyme, salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates and the consistency of the tomatoes is of medium thickness. Taste and add more sugar and/or salt if needed. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. You should have about 2 cups of jam.

While jam is cooling, cook bacon in a skillet to your preference of doneness. Remove bacon to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to remove extra drippings. Toast bread. Assemble sandwiches: apply a little mayonnaise to each slice of bread. To one slice per sandwich, lay down a layer of arugula leaves followed by four slices of bacon. Top the bacon with the tomato jam. Cover with the other slice of mayonnaised bread. Cut in half + serve.

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