Whenever I think about how I would answer the question, "What's the best thing you ever ate?" — a query I put to myself quite often — one answer always rises to the top. I was at a wedding on a friend's family farm. I don't remember anything else that was served, not even the cake. But I will never get out of my head the homemade bread topped with summer ripe heirloom tomatoes. Good bread and good tomatoes, as far as I'm concerned, are the perfect food. The couldn't possibly be improved upon. Or could they?
My mind was blown recently when a colleague mentioned the phrase "peanut butter and tomato sandwich" during a meeting. Down a rabbit hole I swiftly went, searching for the origins of this deeply American delicacy, and wondering, how can bacon get involved in this?
On Reddit, I found a delightful photo from a 1970's cookbook that featured a recipe for a broiled peanut butter and tomato sandwich, shot through with chopped bacon and a pinch of brown sugar. "Try this mixture on the unconverted," the cookbook urged with missionary zeal. And then peanut butter authority Jif itself came through with a recipe on its site for a "Peanut Butter BLT Sandwich."
Culling from both sources, I have put together a sandwich that just tastes… happy. It's salty and sweet and tangy and crunchy. It's like if a BLT met a PBJ and they had the sweetest baby and then you got to eat that baby, that's what this tastes like. I consumed one this week in the midst of a particularly rough afternoon, and my mood promptly lifted and I got some good news. I'm not saying it was the sandwich, but, the timeline checks out.
Please don't use natural peanut butter here, you want something smooth and sweet. And if your lunches are of the takeout variety, this would make an exceptionally good breakfast.
- 2 slices whole wheat or whole grain white bread
- 1 tablespoon of butter, for the pan
- 2 tablespoons of your favorite commercial peanut butter (not natural style)
- 2 slices of ripe tomato
- 3 to 4 slices crisp cooked bacon
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Optional: pinch of brown sugar
- Spread peanut butter evenly on both slices of your bread.
- Add your tomato slices and bacon, and a little salt and pepper, and brown sugar if you wish.
- Heat a medium pan over medium heat and melt your butter.
- Grill your sandwich on one side for 1 - 2 minutes, then flip gently to toast the other side.
- Remove to your place, slice and serve immediately.
Ina Garten's trick for cooking bacon on a sheet pan makes beautifully sandwich-worthy slices.
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More great ideas for sandwich lovers:
- Let's griddle every sandwich, from ham and cheese to peanut butter and honey
- Jalapeño popper grilled cheese is what dreams are made of
- The absolute best way to make an egg sandwich
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