Italian BLT: Pancetta e Lattuga e Pomodoro
Question: What is the best meal for parents of a six-month-old? Answer: Anything fast and easy.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, complicated weeknight dinners are out the window for me lately, as a full day’s work and the brief window of time I get to spend with the baby now eat up a large portion of my time. That means dinner is often not even started until around 7:30 p.m. and we’re usually making meal decisions based on ease of preparation.
And yet, when the rather pedestrian idea of making a BLT came up, I decided that the least I could do was spiff it up a bit with some Italian flair. The result was a tasty meal that wasn’t much more difficult than your run of the mill cold cut sandwich.
makes two sandwiches
Four slices of good bread, Italian if possible
One Roma tomato, sliced
Six thick slices of pancetta
Two large Romaine leaves, cut to fit the bread
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup pesto (home-made or store-bought)
Make the bacon part as easy as possible: Lay it out on a foil-covered sheet pan and bake in the oven ahead of time for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Go with a thicker cut than the ones I used (pictured above) so that they don’t get crispy and paper-thin. Do as I say, not as I did.
Toast the bread while making the pesto-mayo mixture. Spread lightly on the toasted bread and build the sandwich, starting with the lettuce on the outside to prevent the tomato from soaking the bread. Cut the sandwich diagonally and serve with a good prepared soup (maybe tomato basil or Italian Wedding Soup) or a pasta salad, like the red pepper, asparagus and Israeli cous cous salad that I bought from the salad bar at the store.