The BLT has reigned as America’s second-most beloved sandwich – after only ham, say experts on such things – since at least 1950, with its formation as an iconic food both here and in England going back to the beginnings of the 20th century. Isn’t it high time we let the BLG have a turn?
Once you have sampled a sandwich of toasted bread loaded with Bacon, Lettuce and Guacamole, it’s hard to imagine even that true classic making you quite as happy again.
Recently, when we started trying our hands at this “new tradition,” a number of friends chimed in that it isn’t really all that new. There is a common practice, we were told, of putting bacon and avocado together, especially in salads. Considering the much-promoted health benefits of eating avocado and the likelihood that people eating a salad as their meal care about their health, this could not really be surprising. But the notion of filling a sandwich not only with avocado slices but with full-bore guacamole is a lot less familiar, it would seem.
If guacamole is about the G, then what the guacamole is really about is the tradition’s “unindicted co-conspirator,” M – mayonnaise. Mayo has been a mandatory part of the BLT since before it was even called that. Some published recipes from the early 1900s even include mayo without any tomatoes. This points us back to what the British, and later the Americans who emulated them, called “tea sandwiches.” It is thought that various combination of the L and the T were born among those diminutive afternoon snacks, with the B muscling its way in at some later date.
Things were well organized by the end of World War II, as America’s march into the suburbs came with supermarkets that, unlike the small inner-city groceries that existed before, tried to have everything available during every season on the year. The new interstate highway system came in very handy. Tomatoes, whatever their level of flavor, became a year round produce item, not merely a traditional summer celebration.
Though less widely known, bacon too had a seasonality in whatever we consider the old days, being part of the “boucheries” that flooded the market with fresh pork products, usually during the autumn. The stage was set for the BLT, and by all accounts, the table was set too.
When you think about it, the nickname BLT almost certainly came from restaurant, café and diner kitchens of the 1950s – a place where almost every dish took on an abbreviation for the sake of speed and clarity. That’s why we think BLG will prove such a natural, among kitchen crews to whom guacamole is clearly no stranger. Its creamy consistency, not to mention its marvelous cacophony of Tex-Mex flavors, is the ultimate improvement on mayo.
What’s most fascinating to us is simply how American the sandwich tastes. There are a lot of demographic reasons for this, many of them challenging traditional presumptions about the word “American,” and not a moment too soon. But when you’re biting into a BLG, you’re not thinking about demographics.
You’re wondering where this taste and texture combination – building on one American classic to gift us with another – has been all your life.
BACON, LETTUCE AND GUACAMOLE SANDWICH
As we stress so often in this space, we have nothing against traditional versions of dishes, such as the universally loved BLT. In this case, the natural perfection of bacon and avocado together, mostly in salads up till now, convinces us this “new” sandwich is a marriage made in some Tex-Mex version of heaven.
1 ripe avocado
1 Roma tomato, chopped
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
Juice of 1-2 limes
¼ cup Fischer & Wieser’s Salsa a la Charra
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon lemon pepper
Salt and black pepper
12 slices thick-cut bacon
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper
8 slices whole-wheat bread for toasting
Leaves of romaine lettuce
Open the avocado, remove the pit and cut the soft interior in chunks. Prepare the guacamole in a bowl by combining the avocado chunks with the tomato and onion. Add the cilantro and squeeze the lime over the job, deciding how citrusy you prefer guacamole to be. Stir in the salsa and season with the remaining ingredients. Cook the bacon in the olive oil until crisp, seasoning with salt and pepper, then drain on pap0er towels. Toast the bread in batches in a toaster or all together under the broiler. Generously divide the guacamole over four toast slices, then top with the bacon (3 slices per sandwich) and the lettuce. Top with the remaining 4 slices of toast. Serve immediately. Serves 4.