Monday, August 7, 2017

Chat Masala Cured Bacon, Beefsteak Tomato and Belgian Endive BLT

     Gourmet Bacon for a BLT!
     I do not get excited about bacon.  After doing several years of standard American breakfast cooking during my career, ordinary bacon is no longer appealing.  Some mass produced bacon products are better than others, but the choices at an average grocery store are rather slim.  Applewood or hickory smoked bacon are about the only two smoked bacon choices.  Salt cured bacon options usually only vary by the thickness of the slice.  In recent years, maple or Black Forest Spice flavored bacon have hit the store shelves, but there are no other flavor options.  
     As one can see, commercially produced bacon can end up being boring.  This means that BLT Sandwiches made with commercially available bacon will end up being boring after due time too.  Putting more bacon on a BLT Sandwich does not fix the problem.  That would be like more of the same old burnt out bacon flavor.  So, what is a gourmet sandwich maker to do?  Create their own new gourmet bacon flavor! 
     Because of the recent gourmet pork belly recipe trend, raw pork belly slabs are more available than they used to be.  All it takes is fair size piece of pork belly to make an artisan style gourmet bacon in a home kitchen.  
     Sugar and Kosher Salt curing is the easiest and safest meat preserving method to learn, because nitrites and color preservatives are not needed.  Today's Chat Masala Bacon recipe uses the sugar and Kosher Salt curing method.  
     When designing custom cured meat flavors, it is best to avoid liquids, fresh aromatic vegetables or fruit and fresh herbs.  Fresh items will easily degrade during the curing process and spoilage will occur.  Only dried items or fermented sauces that will degrade should be added for flavor.  Chat Masala in a complex Indian spice mixture that contains a high proportion of powdered sour mango (Amchoor).  A curing salt mixture that is flavored with Chat Masala and Amchoor will yield a gourmet artisan bacon that has a complex spicy mango flavor.  Needless to say, a bacon flavor like this will certainly intrigue guests that are bacon fans.  
     One of the best mediums for showing off good bacon is the classic BLT Sandwich.  For those who do not already know, BLT stands for bacon, lettuce and tomato.  Mayonnaise is the classic spread for a BLT, but this sandwich can also be served dry.  Using any other kind of spread is taboo from an authenticity standpoint.
     To make a gourmet BLT, one has to stay within the boundaries of the list of required basic ingredients with nothing extra added.  The basic ingredients are bread, mayonnaise, bacon, lettuce and tomato.  To make a gourmet BLT really standout, one simply has to select the best bread, lettuce and tomatoes available.  Making mayonnaise from scratch and making a gourmet cured bacon certainly helps the cause.  Selecting a Non-GMO organic heirloom tomato and an organic premium quality lettuce, like Belgian Endive, will sure please guests more than iceberg lettuce and a gas house GMO tomato that tastes like cardboard.  Selecting an artisan whole grain bread adds to the appeal too.                    

     Chat Masala Cured Pork Belly Bacon:
     Follow the link to the recipe in this website.
     Chat Masala Cured Bacon, Beefsteak Tomato and Belgian Endive BLT:
     This recipe yields 1 sandwich.
     The amount of bacon on a BLT is a matter of personal choice.  Since this BLT is made with hand crafted gourmet bacon, feel free to indulge!
     Organic Heirloom Tomatoes are the best.  Beefsteak Tomato is a classic choice for a BLT.  
     Step 1:  Heat a cast iron griddle over medium/medium low heat.
     Place 6 to 8 thin slices of the Mango Chat Masala Cured Bacon on the griddle.
     Grill the bacon on both sides, till it is crispy golden brown.
     Place the bacon strips on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to drain off any excess grease.
     Keep the Chat Masala Bacon warm on a stove top.
     Step 2:  Toast 2 slices of whole grain wheat bread.
     Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on the toast.  (optional)
     Step 3:  Place a layer of trimmed Belgian Endive Lettuce Leaves on one slice of toast.
     Place a few thin slices of ripe Heirloom Beefsteak tomato on the lettuce.  
     Place the crisp Chat Masala Cured Bacon slices on the tomato.
     Place the top slice of bread on the sandwich.
     Step 4:  Cut the BLT in half and place it on a plate.
     Garnish the plate with sliced fruit of your choice.

     Ah!  Just what the doctor ordered!  A Gourmet BLT!                  

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