* Edit: I re-read my original post and decided it just didn’t give one of my favorite places in Boston its due, so I’ve re-written part of it. *
Anyone who knows me at all knows I LOVE Flour Bakery, and am in awe of Joanne Chang – Harvard grad with nice consulting job abandons it all to explore the world of pastries and other baked goodies, AND beats Bobby Flay in a throw down? The stuff of dreams. In my world, at least. On top of the general amazingness of the bakery and founder (who I saw up close and personal not once, but TWICE last month!), it’s been a fixture in my post-college life. Countless lab hot chocolate runs – oh, lab hot chocolate runs! – grading sessions, and late dinners have occurred there. Oh Flour, I will miss you and your cramped tables in the South End; your hard-to-spot entrance on Farnsworth in front of which a bird once pooped on my head as I stood scanning the street for your familiar blue + white + yellow sign; and even your what-I-believe-to-be-subpar Central Square location with the smaller cookies and constant mixups of roast beef for lamb. All those things were well worth it for just a taste of homemade oreos, Chunky Lolas, marshmallow meringue lemon tarts, sticky buns, chocolate brioche, twice-baked brioche, stuffed bread, cornmeal lime cookies, breakfast pizzas, browned butter rice krispies treats – yes I went there, a $3 rice krispies treat….
And the lamb sandwich as a salad. I first had this in early spring of 2005, sitting on a park bench next to BUMC. Little did I foresee the hold it would take on my heart, or tastebuds rather, with passing time. These days, if I walk in for a meal, I can barely tear myself from my usual to try some other delectable on the menu. I blame it on the flaky salt they sprinkle on top of the lamb, the occasional sastifying crunch and slight jolt of saltiness it gives when you least expect it.
One late lab evening, I headed to Flour, fully intending to get my usual. I had been feeling deprived of veggies, and was particularly looking forward to a mouthful of crisp mixed greens + sweet tomato chutney + tender rare lamb + herbed goat cheese. Upon entering the bakery, however, something unusual caught my eye. Scrawled at the bottom of the specials blackboard, almost hidden behind the packages of lemon polenta shortbread, was a sandwich special – a smoked salmon avocado BLT with Sriracha mayo. Smoked salmon? Avocado? Sriracha Mayo?? Be still my heart. What now? A minute ago I had been walking through the door practically tasting my lamb sandwich as a salad. Now this? I was torn. The sympathetic person behind the counter said something to me, but all I could gather was that this smoked salmon creation would probably never again be seen after that day. Seconds passed. The seconds turned into what felt like minutes. I finally straightened and looked the sympathetic cashier in the eye, “Smoked Salmon Avocado BLT.”
So, how hard can it be to recreate a BLT variation? Turns out harder than expected…for me, at least. The re-creation was pretty darn good, but it just wasn’t the same for the following reasons:
1. The bacon. I managed to get the bacon nice and crisp and flat (first time ever), but it just wasn’t that satisfyingly hearty slice in the Flour version. I’m not sure where to find bacon like that.
2. Smoked salmon and bacon balance. I don’t know what happened. I remember being able to taste distinct, well-balanced bacon and smoked salmon flavors in the Flour version, but it didn’t really work in mine. Maybe I overdid the bacon? The results:
First 1/2 of sandwich (Bacon + salmon next to each other): Bacon vs. salmon battle. Kind of confusing.
Third 1/4 (Bacon and salmon layers separated by a layer of veggies): Better; not so confusing. Crispiness of bacon also much more noticeable.
Last 1/4: Gave up, removed the salmon slices and just ate them separately. The remaining avocado BLT + Sriracha mayo combo was deeelicious. Maybe I’ll just stick with that for now :P
Um, did I just imagine the amazingness of that sandwich at Flour…?
Well, yay for crispy bacon this time at least!
AVOCADO BLT + SRIRACHA MAYO (+ SMOKED SALMON IF YOU’RE FEELING IT)
Inspired by a sandwich special at Flour Bakery
Yields 1 hearty sandwich
- almost 1/2 of a small avocado, sliced into 1/8-inch slices
- however many strips of bacon you want, cooked *
- handful of mixed greens or baby arugula
- Sriracha sauce
- a couple slices of tomatoes (I used halved grape tomatoes because that’s what we had. Would not recommend, unless you don’t mind tomatoes falling like little poops as you eat.)
- your choice of bread
- optional: smoked salmon
* For crispy, flat strips of bacon, I arranged a single layer on a cast iron pan, and stuck it in the oven at 400 degrees F until I heard sizzling (~20 mins?). I pressed/drained them between paper towels and let them sit for a couple minutes. The bacon crisped as it cooled.
1. Mix mayo and Sriracha to taste (I would suggest starting with a couple Tbsp of mayo and a generous squirt of Sriracha and go from there). Spread on bread.
2. Layer the remaining ingredients however you wish (If using smoked salmon, I would recommend separating the salmon and bacon from each other). Add some freshly ground pepper if desired.