Possibly the best meal on the planet is a BLT made with artisan bacon, good bread, in-season tomatoes, fresh lettuce, and a bit of mayo. It's simple and wonderful. But it doesn't exactly fit inside of a bento box. So I wanted to adapt the flavors of a BLT and put them into a bento. Here's what I came up with:
It's a BLT 3 Ways Bento! In this bento are BLT Skewers, BLT Wraps, and BLT Salad, along with some grapes from Neufeld Farms and a side of mayo.
Of course to start, you have to use the best bacon. I am proud to say that I have been a member of the Black Pig Meat Co Bacon Club. One year of artisan bacon! I need to sign up again, since I let my membership lapse. Luckily, this bacon is for sale at local markets, so I can get my fix even though I am not getting my monthly slab of bacon. Black Pig Meat Co Bacon is made by John Stewart and Duskie Estes, two phenomenal chefs and owners of Zazu and Bovolo Restaurants in Sonoma County. They are really nice people, too. Duskie is going to be a contestant on the Food Network's Next Iron Chef competition, so be sure to cheer her on! Go Duskie!
For the BLT Skewers, I fried up some slices of Black Pig Meat Co Bacon and sliced them into chunks. I threaded these onto skewers with a bit of romaine (or spinach) from Offerings of the Land (I love their salad mix available at the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market), a cherry tomato (these are from Ridgeview Farms and the French Garden), and a homemade croutons made from La Brea baguette (yes, I cooked them in butter and bacon drippings, OMG!) Repeat on skewer until it is filled up.
The BLT Wraps were made with a wonderful Sonoma County product called La Tortilla Factory Hand Made Style Corn Tortillas. They are chewy and soft and soooo good.
Inside of the tortilla is a smear of mayonnaise, chopped up Black Pig Meat Co Bacon, chopped cherry tomatoes from Ridgeview Farms, and a few torn pieces of lettuce from Offerings of the Land. Roll them up and slice them in half. You can secure them with a bit of toothpick if needed, but they will stay rolled up in a well packed bento box.
And finally, I made a BLT Salad with a homemade crouton (different shape than the croutons for the skewers), slices of Black Pig Meat Co Bacon, a few cherry tomatoes, and a bit of lettuce from Offerings of the Land. It's placed inside of a silicone cupcake liner. I had a side of mayo with this lunch to dip the skewers and salad mixings in, but it would have been nice to make a creamy style dressing to go with the BLT Salad.
Recipe for Home Made Croutons
chunks of bread (or thin slices)
In a skillet, heat the bacon drippings and butter together over medium heat. When the oils are hot, add the bread and toss gently to coat all sides. Heat until bread is toasted and turning brown. Add italian season and toss gently again. Remove from heat. Turn croutons out onto a plate covered with a paper towel to allow croutons to crisp up.
Beverage Pairing Suggestion: BEER. I love the very hoppy local brew made by Bear Republic Brewing Company in Healdsburg. Racer 5 India Pale Ale has a bitter bite that will offset the sweetness of the tomato and caramelized bacon. Yum, yum, yum (for 3 kinds of BLT).