Summer is fleeting and so is the produce that comes with it. By the time December gets here, the beautifully ripe tomatoes, sweet corn and delicately flavored zucchini will be long gone. In their place, littering the produce sections of every grocery store, will be sad, flavorless facsimiles, shipped from some faraway land.
For that reason, there should be no shame in trying to consume as much of the good stuff as we can, for as long as we can.
There’s little that can compare to a good ear of corn, its plump kernels sprinkled with flaky sea salt and dripping with butter, or tender zucchini, briefly sautéed in good olive oil and a touch of garlic. Still, tomatoes are the summer vegetable held in the highest esteem at my house.
While tomato and basil bruschetta, caprese salad and pico de gallo are menu stables this time of year, the brass ring of tomato-based summer meals, in my opinion, is the BLT.
The combination of smoky bacon, crisp, cool lettuce and perfectly ripe slices of tomato, all slathered in a generous amount of mayo, simply can’t be beat. I love it sandwiched between two toasted slices of rustic bread, but why stop there when there are so many other ways to give homage to this iconic culinary acronym?
The flavors work, whether or not they’re surrounded by bread. Without it, it’s pretty easy to envision a BLT salad, but how about a BLT taco? Or BLT pasta? Or, dare I say it, BLT pizza?
I know there are many pepperoni-loving, ham-and-pineapple-hating pizza aficionados out there who will think this idea is a bridge too far, but a BLT pizza is an easy, fun and tasty way to enjoy all the flavors of your favorite sandwich delivered to you on another beloved food.
Homemade pizza dough is quicker and easier to make than you’d imagine, but if you’d prefer to buy pre-made dough, go for it. The dough is topped with a little Fontina cheese, a mild Italian cheese that melts beautifully (mozzarella is a fine substitute), and partially cooked bacon, before being baked in a hot oven. Partially cooking the bacon will ensure that it gets crispy in the time it takes to get a nicely browned crust. It also renders out much of the bacon fat, leaving it in the skillet, not on top of your pizza.
Once the pizza is out of the oven, let it cool for a few minutes. This allows the fresh toppings to remain fresh, as opposed to wilted, an adjective not typically thought of as positive when describing a BLT.
After it’s briefly cooled, the pizza is drizzled with a creamy avocado/mayo dressing, because if there’s anything better than a BLT, it’s a BLTA, and generously showered with loads of juicy chopped tomatoes and crisp romaine lettuce.
The result? A slice of summer if there ever was one.
Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter: