The World's 50 Best came out with a new cookbook as a fundraiser for Covid-19 relief. As someone bored out of his mind due to Covid it seemed as good a place as any to find inspiration. I have decided to work through as much of the cookbook as I can with ingredients available to me. The challenge that came with the book was to tag 50 Best in picture of a recreated version of the dish with a twist. I will post my iterations of the dish and the recipe I used. So while I hunt down ingredients for some of the more complicated I'm starting simple; Thomas Keller's BLT Egg and Cheese Sandwich (which my roommate has decided to call a BELT Melt). So without further ado.
The BELT Melt
1/4 lb Thick Cut Maple Smoked Bacon
1/2 cup Apricot Jam
1/4 tsp Lemon Zest
1/4 cup Homemade Bacon Mayo.
2 slices Monterey Jack Cheese
1 head Butter Lettuce
1 Heirloom Tomato
1 Loaf Fresh Baked White Bread
to taste Salt and Pepper
Bacon Mayo: (Can be skipped for regular mayo)
1 Pasteurized Egg Yolk
1/4 tsp Dry Mustard Powder
1/4 tsp Sugar
2 tsp Lemon Juice
1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 Cup Avocado Oil (any oil will do)
1/2 Cup Bacon Rendered Fat
to taste Salt and Pepper
Place the bacon in a hot frying pan and cook until it is the desired level of crispy. I personally prefer it crispy but still soft enough that it doesn't taste mealy. Once the bacon is cooked rest it on a plate with paper towels to pull off the excess grease. Leave the bacon to the side.
Next pour the bacon fat from the bottom of the pan through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth (coffee filters work if you don't have cheese cloth). Save the resulting bacon fat.
Place the egg yolk in a mixing bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix together thoroughly with a whisk. Add in the lemon juice and vinegar and whisk again. In a separate bowl combine the bacon fat and avocado oil. Slowly add the oil mixture to the egg while whisking steadily to emulsify the two together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Continue whisking until fully incorporated and then store in a glass jar with a lid at room temperature for an hour and then refrigerate for up to a week.
Apricot Bacon Mayo Spread:
Mince one piece of bacon and mix with the apricot jam, and 1/4 cup of the bacon mayo (or regular mayonnaise). Add a 1/4 tsp lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste. For a slightly spicier version add some minced hot peppers such as jalapeno or scotch bonnet. Set aside
Build The Sandwich:
In a hot skillet toast off the bread with a little butter to get a nice golden color. Add the cheese to the bread to start it melting.
While this is toasting, cook your fried egg in another pan. I prefer to cook my eggs with a little oil as opposed to butter because it is easier to make sure the butter doesn't burn and discolor your egg. When you flip the egg add a touch of butter to the pan to give the egg a little more flavor. This way the butter doesn't have time to burn before the egg is done.
Once you have your toast and your fried egg build the sandwich and enjoy. I personally made a light summer salad to accompany mine with some veggies and arugula I had in the fridge but feel free to use whatever side you want!
Having grown up idolizing Thomas Keller and The French Laundry its weird to be cooking something of his as simple as a BLT. While this is modded to have my own personal twist on it the inspiration for the dish is his interpretation of a classic sandwich. This is fun and easy enough that it makes a great intro into cooking the 50 Best cookbook for y'all before the sweat and tears begin.