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Summer's Finest

Updated: Aug 6, 2023

Today I’m going to talk about something quintessential to the Southern summer experience.



And some of you won’t agree with everything I say- But, as always, Savage Skillet is a space for all your food opinions, needs and desires to exist free of judgement. So thanks for indulging me mine again.



Tomatoes can be the subject of heated debates in this part of the world. If you don’t hold strong opinions regarding them, I guarantee you know someone who does.

It seems historic debates were no different.


The blueberry sized, yellow wild tomato, known to the Aztecs as tomatl, originated in Mesoamerica, and was domesticated somewhere around 700 A.D.


In the mid 1500s, European seafarers brought tomatoes back and introduced them to Europe, where the fruit was met with mixed reviews.



It’s a testament to the contributions of time and patience to greatness.



By the numbers, the tomato is now the most popular fruit on the globe. It's true!



Let’s get to it. Let’s build the best summer sandwich- the BLT.

The break down, piece by piece, goes like this for yours truly:


Bacon- must be pork (sorry, y’all, it’s just non negotiable for this). Must not be cooked in a microwave, or flavored with extras.


In my world, it must be medium thickness and crispy. But if you like thick, chewy pork products, by all means…


You must also cook roughly 30% more bacon than you think you will need. Because snacks happen. It’s inevitable.


Tomatoes- must be homegrown, in the summer.


If you don’t grow your own, nor does anyone you know, buy some from a stand on the side of the road.


If you must have off-season BLTs, don’t skimp. Buy the hot house tomatoes, still on the vine. Everything else will be flavorless.


Tomatoes must be salted and black peppered on both sides. I insist you don’t skip this step!



These first 2 ingredients are the headliners. Everything else has at least some room for compromise.



Lettuce- I prefer butter lettuce, but if you want more crunch, romaine or even iceberg are perfectly acceptable. Don’t let anyone shame you out of them.


Torn leaves are superior to shredded.


I also believe wholeheartedly it is completely OK to skip this ingredient as well. If you feel the sentiment blasphemous, I can live with that.



Bread- I state with unwaveringly adamancy the bread must be white. Hear me out.


All other bread options, from whole wheat to sourdough, croissant to bagel, offer too much flavor and texture and distract from the star power between their pieces.


Trust me, whether home made or Dollar General Bunny bread, this is the one time white bread is the hottest thing on the block. Consider it a summer fling-



I like a light golden toast on my bread, but it isn’t absolutely necessary.



Dressing- mayonnaise is traditional. The only other acceptable spread is sour cream, if you hate Mayo.


After spreading both sides of your bread, I again implore you to salt and pepper.



It may sound pretentious, or silly, which is off brand here at SS, but there is an art to sandwich making- a specific process which produces the very best experience every time. So let’s put those beautiful ingredients together:



Cook bacon to your preferred doneness.


Slice tomatoes 1/4-1/3 inch in thickness. Salt and pepper both sides. (I beg you-)


Wash and dry lettuce. Tear into medium large pieces. Don’t get fancy with it.


Lightly toast bread. Or don’t. It’s cool.


Spread mayo on one side of both pieces of bread.


For the love of all that is good and holy, please, salt and pepper the mayo after spreading. (You can go light, but I swear, it has to happen).


Here’s the secret to every sandwich:

Each ingredient should cover the bread from corner to corner and edge to edge, so that every component is present in every bite.


No dry spots, no sad empty edges, nothing leaving a void in your full flavor immersion.


The first bite and the last should only vary by the difference in bread crust.


And everything tastes better when cut diagonally.



Hey, if you want to slap some Piggly Wiggley tomatoes on some pumpernickel come January, with shredded spinach and turkey bacon bits, it’s your prerogative.


If you want to fight me in the comments, en

garde!


At the end of the day, I now and forever encourage you to be open to new things, but ultimately eat what you like!


And remember, life’s too short not to eat the summer tomatoes.

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