published Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Braly: It’s BLT time in Tennessee

Brie and Avocado BLT

* Neidlov’s sourdough bread slices (or other favorite bread)

*Mayonnaise

*Crisply cooked bacon slices

*Avocado slices

*Sliced brie cheese

*Sliced ripe tomatoes

*Green leaf lettuce leaves

*Thinly sliced red onion


Spread bread slices with mayonnaise, then layer on remaining ingredients. Grill in panini pan or on griddle or in frying pan as you would a grilled cheese sandwich. You’ll know the sandwich is ready when the bread is crisp and cheese is melted. Also may be baked on bread that’s already been toasted.

Like any lover of summer’s vine-ripened tomatoes, I can’t wait to pick the first one off my vines. Why does it seem to take no time at all for the tomatoes to grow but forever and a day until they’re ripe and red and ready to eat?

Once my crop comes in, the first thing I’ll be making is a BLT. I crave these sandwiches year-round, but the only time I’ll make them is when a summer tomato is in my hand. It’s not worth the disappointment to make them any other time of year. The tomatoes may look good, but forget about the flavor. It’s just a tease.

As a child, my mom served BLT sandwiches whenever she got the chance. Daddy grew the lettuce and tomatoes in his garden, and Mom’s BLTs were always bursting with flavor. After moving away from home, I had a hard time creating a sandwich that tasted as good as hers. But last fall, using one of my last tomatoes, I created one of the best BLTs I’ve ever had.

I cooked everything in my Lodge cast-iron panini pan. It has a really heavy lid that presses the bread and other fixings together to produce a crusty, sensational sandwich.

Copy the recipe on this page for your files so you’ll have it at the ready in a couple of weeks, once those wonderful tomatoes are back in our lives.

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