Monday, April 16, 2012

Fakin' Bacon

Those of you who know me on Facebook might already know this, but I have never had a BLT. This is mostly because I never cared for the "B." This proves Anthony Bourdain wrong ("Everyone likes bacon. Even vegetarians like bacon.") Pig meat always gave me a headache, so avoided it, which could be difficult with an Appalachian mommy. However, in the last six months I have been experimenting with making a vegetarian version of the classic BLT. Something about crisp lettuce, juicy ripe tomato and good bread just seemed so refreshing to me. I have tried disgusting commercially available faux bacon strips. I have made tempeh bacon. I even cut eggplant into thin strips and then battered and fried it. That was probably the closest until a magical idea popped into my head: smoked cheese. It has the fat. It has the smoke. My original idea was to pan fry the cheese into one of those little crisps that you sometimes get on salads, usually made out of Parmesan. However, I decided to just cut it into strips to mimic the look of bacon. Also in reality it did not melt down but still got crispy and chewy. As Eric put it "The closest thing to bacon that I've ever had." 
F. L. T (Facon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich)
serves 2

1 block smoked cheese (I used Gruyere)
1 large tomato, sliced
2 romaine lettuce leaves (because iceberg is for chumps)
4 slices sourdough (or your favorite white bread)
mayonnaise, to taste
salt and pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a pan with parchment paper. Slice the cheese or grate and place in mounds. Cook until crisp and brown, approximately 20 minutes for the hard Gruyere). In the mean time you can slice you tomato and toast your bread. I like mine only lightly toasted for this sandwich. When the cheese is finished you can assemble your sandwich by slathering mayonnaise (or vegan mayo. I am fine with just low fat mayo). Then salt and pepper the mayo. Stack your tomato, cheese and lettuce.  

That puppy wants some facon!

Next time I may try slicing firm tofu and marinating in liquid smoke then deep frying. I may even add an avocado. Overall, I would say big success in the world of fake bacon.

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