The simpler the food the better. This has been my feeling since I began to understand how meals come together. How flavors combine and how we seek the best mix of classic foods from our memories.
One of my favorite American classic sandwiches is the BLT. You can not ask for anything simpler and I learned to share this classic with my Mammina Loreta who also loved the combination (sans mayonnaise) as was her way.
When I began this food blog my longtime friend, Anna P. who also happens to be a trained chef and uber-foodie like myself asked me, “Is there an Italian version of the classic BLT?”
Curious idea for sure, so I did some research and found no connection to anything really similar in Italian food combinations. I decided to try crafting my own version for Anna.
I tried using pancetta, which is a version of cured pork that is salted, but not smoked. This did not work for me, it was tasty for sure with salty bites of oven-crisped pancetta but I found myself missing the smoky flavor of classic bacon.
This recipe is what became the outcome of a few tests, the addition of the roasted sweet pepper and sundried tomato mayonnaise with fresh arugula was what cemented the idea for me and my husband Daniel and my daughter Isabella who also loves her bacon anyway she can get it.
I hope you enjoy this version of the classic and as always this recipe is dedicated to my lovely friend Anna P. who will always be one of my favorite life-long friends.
She is always close in my heart, no matter how near or far we are from each other in life as she too understands that food is life, love, the path to true happiness. For you Anna P., tanti baci e abbrachi xoxo
blt al la italiana
1 pound pecan wood smoked organic thick-sliced bacon
1 large loaf fresh ciabatta bread
fresh baby arugula
baby tri-color sweet peppers (yellow, red and orange)
sun dried tomatoes preserved in olive oil
homemade mayonnaise (or good quality store variety)
fresh vine-ripe beefsteak tomatoes, sliced
De-seed and clean the baby sweet peppers, leave them whole and layer onto a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt. Roast in a 450 degree oven until they begin to soften and the edges blacken a bit, the aroma will tell you when they are close to done.
Remove from the oven, place in a bowl to cool. In the same 450 degree oven, place the slices of bacon on a large baking sheet spaced evenly and bake until sizzling and golden brown and crispy (I love mine extra crispy with some darker edges.)
Remove from the oven and drain the slices carefully on paper towel on a large flat platter to remove excess oil, etc.
Toast large sections of the ciabatta bread sliced in half until crispy and golden brown. Depending on the size of your loaf of bread you can make up to three sandwiches with this recipe.
Using a food processor, make a batch of the homemade mayonnaise (follow the recipe link above) and set aside. Take the roasted peppers (approx. 1/4 cup or more to taste) along with a good measure of the sun dried tomatoes (drained a bit, approx. 1/4 cup or more to taste.)
Add about half of the homemade mayonnaise to the food processor bowl, and if desired add a cut up garlic clove to taste.
Pulse this mixture until all the ingredients are well-blended.
Taste for seasoning (add salt, pepper, etc.) and add more roasted peppers and/or sun dried tomatoes to your personal taste.
Arrange your sandwiches by slathering a good amount of the flavored mayonnaise on the top slice of the toasted ciabatta, arrange several slices of the bacon strips on the bottom slice of toasted ciabatta, two to three tomato slices, and a good handful of fresh arugula.
You can add more mayonnaise if desired and gently press down on the entire sandwich to meld the flavors together.
Note: Photography by Annette Venditti & Daniel Venditti