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The New BLT Sandwich: It’s not what you think! A Creative Cooking Crew Challenge

April 5, 2013 by Joan Nova in Creative Cooking Crew Challenge, Fish/Seafood, Food Challenge, Food Pairings, Recipe Development, Salads, Sandwiches, Sauce | 42 Comments

“Build a sandwich around 3 ingredients that start with the letters B.L.T.” that was the directive for this month’s challenge. And you know we’re not talking bacon, lettuce and tomato!

The mise en place for my sandwich holds a whole branzino, leek, lemon, lima beans, and Italian tuna. (Other ingredients not shown: anchovies, micro herbs, garlic, tomato, olive oil and a loaf of freshly-baked ciabatta bread.)

Branzino, Lemony-Lima Bean-and-Leek Salad and Tonnato Sauce

To all you bacon lovers out there …

boo me (if you must), but I have to declare …

I like crispy fish skin better than crispy bacon!

I also like a salty-lemony tonnato sauce made with tuna, anchovies, garlic, capers, dijon, dash of hot sauce, olive oil and fresh lemon juice better than mayonnaise.

And, a lightly sauteed vegetable salad made with lima beans and leeks dressed with lemon juice, oil-cured olives, chopped tomatoes and micro greens is much tastier than an undressed piece of lettuce and a slice of tomato. Even if you don’t like lima beans (I didn’t used to), but they’re like Brussels Sprouts — if you cook them correctly, they’re really quite good.

Sliced white bread or grilled freshly-baked ciabatta? BWAHAHAHA – such a silly question!!!

I loved my reinvented BLT! But, hey, that’s just me. What about you?

I’m leaving soon for a vacation that will take me to Amsterdam and then on a Rhine River cruise visiting cities in Germany, France and Switzerland. I may post some photos on Facebook along the way, but I probably won’t be back on this or any other blogs until I return.

Meantime, other CCC members will be posting their BLTs throughout the month and the round-up will be hosted by Lazaro Cooks at the end of the month.

Ciao for now!

Note: This is a fish known by many names in various parts of the world and is often marketed as Mediterranean seabass, bronzini or branzini. In Spain it is called lubina or róbalo and in France bar commun along the Atlantic coast and loup de mer in the Mediterranean. The Turks/Greeks refer to it as levrek/lavracki while the countries of former Yugoslavia share a name that is similar to that used by their Italian neighbors across the Adriatic, the “brancin.” (Source: wikipedia)

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NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. Very nice, very adult flavors. I have not ever seen branzino here but if it’s a type of sea bass, can’t be too strongly flavored. LOVE the Med influence and the crunchy bread/skin must have made it a delight to bite into. I am very jealous of your trip, have a nice Gewurtztraminer for me, won’t you?
    La Diva Cucina recently posted..Come on Down to the Farm! Free La Diva Cucina Food Demonstration and Farm Tour!My Profile

  2. Nicely done. I love that you paired your BLT influence with your upcoming trip!

    Your BLT looks absolutely divine and I’m impressed with “B for branzino.”

    Have a wonderful cruise.
    Maureen C Berry recently posted..Tomato & Fennel Flat BreadMy Profile

  3. Faith says:

    This is absolutely beautiful, Joan! I love the flavors you chose for your BLT!
    Faith recently posted..Biscoff Muffins with Coffee Cake Crumble ToppingMy Profile

  4. This is one of the best things you ever made. I’m salivating. And, you gave me a good idea!
    angela@spinachtiger recently posted..360 BistroMy Profile

  5. Jim says:

    Looks great! Esp. the crispy skin.

  6. Liz says:

    Great looking sandwich. Love the crispy skin too!

  7. Erica says:

    This looks amazing,Joan!Love all those flavors….Very creative.I am having fun with my recipe!Enjoy your trip!
    Erica recently posted..Green Plantains with Guacamole, Crispy Fish Fillets and Mango SlawMy Profile

  8. bellini says:

    I know you will enjoy your holiday Joan. How much fun is that!!!

  9. Beautiful joan…I will now have to look at BLT’s with a different set of goggles! I’m drooling at all the ingredients listed!
    Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul recently posted..Peach Salad with Yoghurt and PomegranateMy Profile

  10. Look at the nice clear eyes on the fish. Great looking sandwich and an interesting challenge.

    Have a great time on your trip Joan and I’ll be watching for pictures on Facebook.
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen recently posted..Moroccan Chicken StewMy Profile

    • Joan Nova says:

      Love that you mentioned the clear eye as my grandmother taught me to look for clear eyes. I’m always leery to buy a fish that has been filleted.

      Thanks, Sam.

  11. christo says:

    what a rich and savory sandwich – you raised the bar early and you raised the bar high :)
    christo recently posted..Creative Cooking Crew Challenge: nut butter, green apples, bacon, vinegarMy Profile

  12. OMG. You’ve done it again, Joan. Spectacularly interesting–and the photos are superb. I haven’t made tonnato sauce in a long while. Now I feel inspired. I hope you have a splendid vacation and that you take lots of photos to share. I am about to leave for Paris and Morocco myself. Oh, I forgot to tell you what a great business card you have as well. Love it.
    Victoria of Flavors of the Sun recently posted..Island Pork Tenderloin Salad with Coconut BreadMy Profile

  13. Norma-Platanos, Mangoes says:

    I am so hungry right now. This is fabuloso…the first picture a winner. I like the way he is looking at me. All those flavors coming together…Que ricura!

  14. Fantastic creation Joan, love the idea of using fish. It looks soooooo good. Great job on the challenge. have not started mine lol.
    Evelyne@cheapethniceatz recently posted..SRC: Fresh Mint Chocolate Chunk Ice CreamMy Profile

  15. Robin Sue says:

    Fantastic sandwich. Gute Fahrt! Have a wonderful vacation.
    Robin Sue recently posted..Kebab KoobidehMy Profile

  16. Lori Lynn says:

    Hi Joan – I hope you’re having a fabulous vacation! I absolutely love your BLT. Branzino is my favorite and so are lima beans. I could swear you made this for me. So glad you started with the whole fish, and the skin of branzino is lovely for getting that perfect crispiness. And tonnato sauce, brilliant. OK, I’ll stop gushing over your sandwich now.

  17. Shannon says:

    love this recreation of a blt!! yum. especially that sauce dripping over the crispy fish and grilled ciabatta <3

  18. Have a superb time Joan – I love this BLT rendition, so no booing from me. Especially as I adore Branzino
    Kitchen Butterfly recently posted..Guest Post on Meyers: Living with LemonsMy Profile

  19. sippitysup says:

    sippitysup recently posted..Pabst, A Blast From The PastMy Profile

  20. I adore branzino and what you’ve done with all these sophisticated and elegant flavors in a sandwich is PHENOMENAL! Always inspiring you are Joan:)

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  21. Victoria says:

    This is the ultimate sandwich! Using Branzino makes it so sophisticated. A really unexpected and delicious BLT :)
    Victoria recently posted..Comfort Food Makeovers: Chicken EnchiladasMy Profile

  22. Marisa says:

    What a great-looking and well thought out BLT recreation. Love it! My favorite part is the lima bean leek salad. It sounds sooo good.

  23. deana sidney says:

    I just love branzino. It’s such a beautiful flavor and texture. MAgnificent work putting it into a sandwich with that great mixture and sauce… great work on a fun challenge!

    PS I used to hate lima beans too.. now I love them!
    deana sidney recently posted..The Origins of the Sandwich, a Parisienne Lobster Honeyed Citrus MasterpieceMy Profile

  24. wow!! i wish i was eating this blt right now – it looks and sounds absolutely phenomenal!
    Jenn and Seth recently posted..Cantaloupe Drizzled with Lemon Cardamom Yogurt SauceMy Profile

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