First off, I just want to quickly thank you all for the well wishes from last week's announcement. You all are the best, and if I could, I would make you all individual pimento BLTs!
But for now, let's get back to the topic at hand.
We spent the first leg of our recent North Carolina vacation in Raleigh visiting family and eating amazing food at some of the best restaurants in town. Thanks to Matt's sister and parents who really get me and the way I want to spend my vacation, we made it to Lantern in Chapel Hill as well as Panciuto in the charming little town of Hillsborough where I had the most delicious crab salad of my life. But it being vacation and all, we also had lots of time to cook. And well, since we were in the South, we wanted to keep our cooking appropriately southern. Thus, the idea for pimento cheese BLTs was born!
I know that old-school orange cheddar is kind of a thing of the past in this farm-to-table world we live in, but I say embrace it when it comes to pimento cheese. I mean, isn't that the thing about pimento cheese? It's orange.
Also, word to the wise, if you decide to make this for a crowd, start frying your bacon earlier than you think. I'd slated dinner for six o'clock, but as it turns out, crisp bacon for 8 adults doesn't happen in twenty minutes.
makes 4 sandwiches (you'll probably have extra pimento cheese, but I'm sure you can figure out a way to eat it the next day.)
pimento cheese (recipe below)
12 slices of thick-cut bacon
8 slices of sourdough sandwich bread
1 small head of Bibb lettuce
1 to 2 tomatoes (Really go for the best tomatoes you can find. A mealy tomato won't cut it here.)
For the pimento cheese:
1/2 pound extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese1/4 cup jarred roasted red peppers (or if you're down south, you can probably find a jar of pimentos)
approximately 2 tablespoons shallots, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
In a food processor, combine the cheddar, roasted peppers, shallots, and mayonnaise. Pulse until the cheese is finely copped but not creamy. Season with salt and Tabasco to taste. Set aside for sandwich assembly.
Rinse and dry the lettuce. Slice your tomatoes. Set aside.
Pan-fry the bacon in batches of 4 or 5 strips until crispy. (I pour off the bacon fat in between batches, reserving it to use for something else that calls for lard or bacon fat.) After blotting the strips with paper towels, I put them on a baking sheet in a warm oven to hang out until all the bacon is fried up.
Toast the bread.
Ask your guests to assemble their BLTs! I mean, I guess you could assemble each one for them, but I know Matt wanted to be in charge of his own pimento cheese layer, lest he get short changed. So, I just put out all the components and let people make their own. Enjoy!