You know that team building exercise you might play at sleep-away camp that requires you to fall backwards into the waiting arms of a fellow camper? The Trust Fall? The basic idea is that you completely let yourself fall backwards, trusting that the person behind you has arms outstretched to catch you before you hit the ground. It’s a very literal way of saying “Hey! I’ve got your back!” or “Don’t worry, I’ll catch you if you fall.” If the person you’ve entrusted to catch you is not paying attention and flirting with her sleep-away boyfriend as you fall… well, you might have trust issues for life. Not cool.
I bring up the old Trust Fall because we’re talking about sandwiches. Sandwiches are serious business. I feel like I need to do a good round of Trust Falling with someone before we’re allowed to make each other sandwiches. Like I said… sandwiches are serious.
I need to know that someone has got my back when they make me a sandwich. Who’s making me a sandwich? No one… that’s not the point. It’s all about trust, and care and attention. Like… which slices of bread they choose from the loaf, and how the mayonnaise doesn’t sneak over the edges, and how the tomato slices are just thin enough, and the lettuce is mostly dry from the washing. Sandwiches have a lot of details. There’s a lot going on. I need to trust that my sandwich maker can handle these details… you know?
What? Too much? It’s just a sandwich? Yea… a sandwich. I take my sandwiches to heart. I haven’t done the old Trust Fall with the young gentlemen at my local sandwich shop, so frankly, I don’t know if I can trust them to make me a sandwich… ridiculous, but true.
So, yes. I’m a touch neurotic about my sandwiches. That’s just how it goes. Because I’m so ridiculous, I usually make my own.
This time around I made my own mayonnaise, because, holy heck it’s easy! Mayonnaise is a simple emulsion of egg yolk, flavors like mustard and seasoning, acid, and a fat like canola oil or olive oil. Olive oil will make a strongly flavored mayonnaise. I went for a roasted red pepper (I bought a jar) version using grapeseed oil as the fat. This version creates a slightly looser mayonnaise than the one you might scoop from the store bought jars. For a plain mayonnaise you can make with a bowl and a whisk, check out this tutorial. It’s handy.
Roasted Red Pepper Mayonnaise
adapted from Fat
makes about 1 cup of mayonnaise
1 large egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1 roasted red pepper, coarsely chopped ( I used the jarred variety. Easy!)
3/4 cup canola or grapeseed oil
Combine egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice, and chopped roasted red pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Mix for about 30 seconds. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and whirl again.
With the machine running (I know it’s loud), gradually add the oil until the mixture starts to thicken and emulsify. I added the oil in a steady, but very thin stream. The mixture will start to emulsify at about the 2 minute mark. Once it starts to emulsify, you can add the fat more quickly. If the mixture is too thick for some reason, just blend in 1 teaspoon of boiling water to thin it. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate. Lasts for 3-4 days.
The Best BLT
makes one sandwich
2 slices of your favorite bread, toasted
3-4 slices of tomato
2 leaves of butter lettuce, rinsed
4 -5 slices of crisp bacon
generous slather of roasted red pepper mayonnaise
Cook up bacon and drain of a paper towel. Rinse lettuce leaves, and pat dry. Slice tomato slices and let rest on a paper towel, allowing some of the moisture to be absorbed.
Toast bread and slather with as much roasted red pepper mayonnaise as you like. Top with bacon, tomatoes and lettuce. Top with other slice of bread and you’re in business. Holy yum!