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~Bacon, Lettuce,Tapenade & Chicken Club Sandwich~

IMG_1588There is nothing quite as satisfying as a BLT or a club sandwich, made with a just-picked perfectly-ripe tomato.  Tick, tock.  It is going be an impatient two-month wait for my own or any locally-grown tomatoes to be at my fingertips, so, hold-that-beautiful-thought, give pause to the beloved tomato for a moment, and allow me to change the conversation:  there is another tart fruit to consider.  It's the brine-cured olive, and, in the form of tapenade, a Mediterranean relish-type condiment, there is no reason to compromise your BLT with a not-at-its-peak tomato.

Try a BLT or Club w/my tapenade instead of tomato. It's T-rrific:

IMG_1590Making a BLT sandwich is simple and straightforward:  Crisp bacon, tender lettuce, sliced tomato and your favorite bread -- mayonnaise is optional.  Regarding the bread, it's a personal decision. Some folks like their BLT on soft Wonder-type white, while others prefer the crusty firm-textured rustic kind.  Toasted or untoasted bread? You guessed it, it's up to you.  This combination of ingredients on a sandwich dates back to the early 1900's but became extremely popular after World War II when Hellmann's Mayonnaise advertised their mayo as traditional to the sandwich. Oddly, using the initials "BLT" to refer to it, wasn't common until the 1970's.  Today, the BLT is ranked the second most popular sandwich in the USA.  Oddly, the ham sandwich is ranked #1.

Although the ingredients for the BLT existed for many years, there is little-to-no written evidence of it prior to 1900.  That said, in 1903, The Good Housekeeping Everyday Cookbook, published a recipe by Dr. Kevin Zinter for a Club Sandwich -- bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and sliced chicken sandwiched between two slices of bread -- not three slices of bread, known as "double decker style", as it is commonly served today (which I find annoyingly hard to manage).  In 1904, three restaurants at the St. Louis World's Fair featured the club sandwich in various forms.

"Tapenade" derives from the Provençal word for caper, "tapeno".

IMG_1521Hailing from the Mediterranean and dating back to Roman times, a traditional tapenade contains few ingredients:  black olives, caper berries, anchovies, garlic, olive oil, pepper, an occasional herb and/or a squirt of fresh lemon.  The texture of tapenade is personal, ranging from puréed or pounded to a paste, to finely-minced or slightly chunky. The tools of the trade used to achieve the desired texture range from the ancient mortar and pestle to the ordinary chef's knife and/or the high-tech food processor.  Tapenade should be allowed to rest a few hours prior to serving at room temperature, and, when stored in the refrigerator, the oil will preserve it for up to a month.

IMG_14561  9 1/2-10-ounce jar pitted, black kalamata olives, well-drained

1  9 1/2-10-ounce jar pitted, green garlic-stuffed olives, well-drained

1  2-ounce tin rolled anchovy fillets, with capers, packed in olive oil, undrained

2  tablespoons drained capers

1  teaspoon each: dried herbes de Provence and minced fresh thyme leaves

1  teaspoon fresh lemon juice

2  tablespoons fruity olive oil

1/2  teaspoon sea salt

3/4  teaspoon coarse-grind black pepper

IMG_1485 IMG_1485 IMG_1485~ Step 1.  Place all ingredients, as listed, in work bowl of food processor fitted with the steel blade. Place the lid on the processor. Using a series of 25-30 rapid on-off pulses, process until mixture is minced and mixed.  If a finer consistency is desired, pulse a few more times. Transfer to a 4-cup food-storage container, cover and set aside several hours (4-6) for flavors to marry.  Store in the refrigerator.

IMG_1571~ Step 2.  Choose a favorite loaf of bread, a favorite brand of bacon, and a favorite type of lettuce.  I'm using my oven-roasted chicken breast, sometimes I use perfectly-roasted turkey breast, but, high-quality sliced deli-meat works too.

IMG_1155Crisply fry the bacon. I like to roast bacon in the oven.

Can you take over these sandwiches from here?  T-rrific:

IMG_1592Bacon, Lettuce & Tapenade Chicken Club Sandwiches:  Recipe yields 3 1/2 cups tapenade and basic instructions for making chicken club sandwiches 

Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; food processor; 4-cup food-storage container w/tight-fitting lid; cutting board; chef's knife; serrated bread knife

6a0120a8551282970b022ad3b83ba8200bCook's Note:  Bread is perhaps the most important component to making any well-constructed sandwich.  There's more.  While bruschetta is simply a slice of oiled toast, almost any sandwich can be served crostini- or panini-style.  I played by the traditional BLT rules today and used a store-bought bake-at-home French batard, but, f you can't decide what road to take, read ~ The Crisy Bits about Bruschetta, Crostini and Panini ~. Bread is indeed the staff of life.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2019)


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