bacon symphony

In another lifetime, I lived and worked on an organic farm in far northern Maine with my mentor turned best friend, Lorna. We ran a small CSA together, doling out a weekly supply of vegetables to a dozen or so families. Lorna taught me a lot of things – and how to grow vegetables was just the tip of the iceberg. She taught me how to change the muffler on my truck. She showed me how to be quiet and wait. She taught me how to split and stack wood. She encouraged me to look at things differently. And, best of all, she taught me how to cook without a recipe.

Lorna’s cooking style is amusing. She’s the type who drizzles the honey into the bread batter two feet above the bowl, just to see the pattern it makes. But perhaps her best culinary trait is that she cooks with what she has. There’s no running to the Shop & Save twenty minutes away to pick up this or that. Lorna inventories her kitchen like a true chef. And if she has a surplus of some particular ingredient, you can bet it will be front and center on the menu.

This happened so often in my cooking forays with her, that I coined a term for it. The “_____ intensive meal.” If there was bread about to go by, I knew we’d need to come up with a bread intensive meal. An onslaught of broccoli demanded a broccoli intensive meal. A surplus of eggs? You get the idea. Lorna doesn’t really need a cookbook. She just needs to know what’s in the pantry. I admire that.

The other night as I was drifting into that wild space where the conscious and subconscious so effortlessly mingle, I remembered the two pounds of bacon that has been lingering in our fridge. A bacon intensive meal, I thought. Must-make-a-bacon-intensive-meal. And then sleep washed over me. Fortunately this bit of brilliance was still with me in the morning. Only I wasn’t quite sure what comprises a bacon intensive meal – save roasting two trays of it in the oven and then shamelessly tucking in.

I channeled Lorna for inspiration and decided on bacon sandwiches. But not just plain old bacon sandwiches. I riffled the fridge and pulled out all the big guns. A wedge of Ba Ba Blue, a bunch of tender arugula, and a carton of slow roasted tomatoes with honey and thyme  from the freezer. I called Mark and asked him to pick up a loaf of marbled rye on his way home. My bacon intensive meal was coming together just fine.

In my book, any grilled sandwich in waiting has two best friends. A well seasoned cast iron griddle and Hellmann’s. Because let me tell you, when a thin smear of Hellman’s meets a hot griddle, it’s a match made in heaven. It doesn’t really matter what’s between the bread. Even a Kraft single will shine. Only in this case it did matter. It mattered because I’m pretty sure it’s a top-ten sandwich, well worthy of repeating. When I was prepping them I had a bout of panic that it was too much. Surely I was going overboard with all of these big flavors. But I wasn’t. They balanced each other perfectly. PERFECTLY! It was one magnificent crunchy, savory, salty, acidic, sweet, bitter, creamy, tangy bacon symphony. Pour a cold, hoppy IPA and prepare for the cymbal crash.

Garlic Pig Bacon Sandwiches

1 pound bacon, cooked
4-5 ounces Blue cheese, crumbled
1 small bunch of arugula
1 cup roasted tomatoes (ideally with a tinge of honey added)
fresh or dried thyme
10 – 12 slices marbled rye
Hellmann’s mayonaise

Spread a thin layer of Hellmann’s on the outer surface of each bread slice. Construct sandwiches by layering Blue cheese, ample bacon, a handful of arugula, a scattering of tomatoes, and a light sprinkling of thyme between two pieces of bread. Grill on a medium-hot griddle until nicely browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Makes 5 – 6 sandwiches, depending on the size of your bread.

7 Responses to “bacon symphony”

  1. 1 Ella Thayer April 14, 2012 at 10:22 am

    I would have put the Hellman’s on the inside of the sandwich; something new to learn every day! Did you two really eat two whole sandwiches? And another question from a while ago: Is it possible to find butterscotch chips without hydrogenated oils? I’ve made the ginger-butterscotch cookies and they are divine; really divine.

  2. 2 GarlicPig April 14, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Lunch Ella! That’s where the three extra sandwiches ended up. And sadly – no, I do not know of any hydrogenated-free butterscotch chips. King Arthur flour used to carry some, but I don’t think they do any more.

  3. 3 dani April 16, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    My mouth is watering…. and the slow roasted tomatoes sound soooooo good. While reading this entry I was eating a baguette and some nice butter for dinner, you could call it a butter intensive dinner. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to compare to the sandwich description. Another night……

  4. 4 dani April 16, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Are you using the mayo in place of butter for crispy grilling bread?! Wow, never thought of it. I’ll have to try this!

  5. 6 Tonia (@IttyBittyImpact) April 16, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    This looks delicious! I am very much enjoying your writing. Thanks for linking me to your blog!

  1. 1 stiff competition « Garlic Pig Trackback on August 22, 2012 at 2:18 pm

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