One of my favorite perks of summer is the seemingly endless bounty of fresh produce that is harvested daily from backyard and community gardens. So when I get my hands on a basket of plump, juicy, vine-ripe tomatoes that are literally exploding with flavor, I guarantee there’s a stack of bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado and toasted bread in the imminent future! It just so happens that I occasionally crave a fresh Crab Louie Salad on a hot summer day. Hmmm ….
Crab Louie BLTA
Yields 4 sandwiches
- 8 slices of bread (I swear that plain ole’ white Rainbo bread is THE best for BLT’s)
- 12 strips of thick-cut bacon, sliced in half
- 1 cup of jumbo lump crab meat
- 2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced into 1/4″ rounds (8 total pieces)
- Several butter lettuce leaves, rinsed and dried
- 1 large ripe avocado
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Thousand Island Dressing (recipe follows)
Preheat your oven to 350F degrees. (Use the convection mode if you can.) Lay three slices of bacon vertically side-by-side on a foil-lined grilling pan or skillet with ridges. Using three more slices, weave them horizontally over and under the three vertical pieces to create a basketweave pattern. Repeat this process with the remaining bacon slices. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until bacon is completely cooked and starting to crisp. Remove from the oven and blot the bacon dry with plenty of paper towels. Set the bacon weaves on a wire rack to cool.
Lightly season the tomato slices with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.
Scoop the flesh from the avocado into a small bowl, add the lime juice, and season with a dash of salt and pepper. Using a fork, smash the avocado into a guacamole consistency.
Toast the bread slices. Smear about 2 tablespoons of Thousand Island dressing over one of the slices, then evenly spread 1/4 cup of crab meat over the dressing. Add a tomato slice and top it with a leaf of butter lettuce.
Smear about 2 tablespoons of the smashed avocado onto a second slice of toasted bread. Add a bacon weave and top it with a slice of tomato. Invert onto the other assembled bread slice. Repeat to assemble the remaining BLTAs. Secure the sandwiches with picks, cut them in half diagonally, and serve — preferably paired with a glass of Rodney Strong Vineyards Chalk Hill Chardonnay or Pride Mountain Vineyards Vigonier.
For the Thousand Island Dressing:
Inspired by a recipe from Graybert at food.com
(Yields 4 cups)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon ketchup
- 1 Tablespoon Sriracha Sauce
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dill pickle relish
- 1 teaspoon white onion, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours before using, allowing the flavors to blend.