Libbie Summers is the brains and beauty behind her food-inspired brand and lifestyle. She’s also the author of two cookbooks: The Whole Hog Cookbook and Sweet & Vicious: Baking With Attitude. Today this talented lady is opening up to us about her success, advice for breaking into the food blogging industry and her mouth-watering summer sandwich.
Image: Chia Chong
World’s Best BLT Recipe from Libbie Summers’s The Whole Hog Cookbook (Rizzoli 2012)
“If you’re traveling to remote places, a red tomato is sometimes hard to find. Surprisingly, I’ve found that a green tomato isn’t. This revelation still upsets my sensibilities, but I have learned to embrace it. When I worked for yachting clients around the world, I made my BLTs using green tomatoes. Each time I made them, I’d hear the same thing: ‘Libbie, this is the best BLT I’ve ever had.’ Thus its name was earned.” — Libbie
- 2 green tomatoes, cut into 8 slices
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups ribbon-chopped green leaf lettuce
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 8 slices sunflower bread, grilled
- 1 cup homemade mayonnaise (recipe below)
- 12 slices bacon, cooked crisp and drained
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
Heat a grill or grill pan to high heat. Brush green tomato slices with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place tomatoes on the hot grill and cook until brown marks form on each side (approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side). Remove and set aside.
Place chopped leaf lettuce in a medium mixing bowl. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and lemon juice over. Add salt and pepper. Using tongs, toss greens to coat. Set aside.
To Assemble Sandwiches:
Spread a thick layer of homemade mayonnaise on one side of all 8 slices of bread. Top 4 slices with three pieces of bacon, two grilled green tomatoes and one quarter of the dressed greens each. Place the 4 remaining bread slices (mayonnaise side down) on top of each sandwich.
Add egg yolk, vinegar, lemon juice, dry mustard, cayenne pepper and salt to a medium mixing bowl. Whisk until well combined and bright yellow (about 1 minute). Whisking constantly, add 1/4 cup of vegetable oil a few drops at a time (it’s important not to rush this part — each drop of oil must be fully incorporated before the next). This step normally takes about 5 minutes. Still whisking constantly, gradually add remaining 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in a slow, steady stream until mayonnaise begins to lighten and thicken (usually 8 to 10 minutes). Mayonnaise will hold for 2 days when covered and refrigerated.
How did you get started in food blogging?
I first recognized how fun it was to have conversations online about food with tons of wonderful people when I helped launch and held the position of Senior Food Editor for a celebrity website.
Since I believe that food inspires all aspects of my life — not just what I put on my table — I launched Salted and Styled with my favorite photographer, Chia Chong. Chia and I really enjoy working together and share many of the same sensibilities about food and how it informs fashion, art and design. On Salted and Styled, we also celebrate the growers and makers.
In addition to Salted and Styled, I also blog on my own site about how I personally live a food-inspired life. It’s all me — my recipes, my style, all the things that I love told through my singular voice — off-color commentary and all.