BLT’s are the quintessential summer sandwich, right?
My perfect BLT and the one I grew up eating (not that there’s much of a differentiation between what you’re probably used to), was simple – perfectly ripe farmer’s market tomatoes (or garden tomatoes) dusted with a little bit of salt and pepper and layered with crisp iceberg lettuce, at least four pieces of crispy bacon (flimsy bacon is a crime in my household) and then smooched between toasted whole-wheat sandwich bread smothered with light mayo.
To this day, that’s still exactly how I prefer my BLTs – simple with no fuss –but everyone once in a while an idea for an untraditional BLT creeps into my head, gets written down in my trusty food journal and loiters there until the time is right to bring it to life.
When I spotted a box of obscenely large watermelons on sale ridiculously cheap the other day, I immediately snatched one up, not even thinking twice about actually being able to consume said watermelon before it spoiled (or get it from my car to the kitchen for that matter). After I’d eaten my weight in watermelon as a snack, used it in fruit salsa and recreated my favorite salad from last year, I still had at least two pounds leftover. As I was quickly perusing my food idea journal for future blog ideas, I spotted a gem I’d jotted down a few months back and knew exactly what I was going to do with the remaining watermelon on the verge of losing it’s luster – I love when things come together so effortlessly.
Juicy watermelon, crispy prosciutto (you can also use bacon or pancetta), spicy arugula and grilled halloumi cheese would be layered together and then sandwiched between two good-quality slices of multi-grain bread (I like this local brand). A far cry from a BLT, so I guess we can’t really call it that anymore, but just know, that’s where the idea was derived from.
I know when most people think of Greek cheese, of course, the first variety that comes to mind is feta, but a cheese that’s found just as commonly in Greece is halloumi – a semi-hard cheese similar in taste to feta, but a bit more firm. It’s usually served warm or grilled and rarely in its innately chilled state. Of course, growing up eating Greek food, I’d had it a handful of times, but I didn’t really fall in love with it until our trip to Greece last year where it graced pretty much every menu at every single restaurant. My favorite preparation by far was when it was simply grilled or pan-fried with a little bit of lemon juice and served with torn pieces of pita.
Here, instead of the halloumi being fried with the lemon juice, it’s quickly seared in a non-stick skillet and the lemon essence comes to play in the form of a quick compound mayo made of lemon zest, lemon juice and a touch of salt and pepper. The mayo is slathered onto the toasted bread, then layered with the halloumi, watermelon, arugula and finally, the crispy prosciutto.
A heck of a messy sandwich to eat, but worth every single bite.
- 8 slices of prosciutto
- ⅓ cup light mayo
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 small watermelon (you will have leftovers)
- ½ pound halloumi cheese1/2 cup arugula
- 4 slices good-quality multi-grain brain, toasted
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place prosciutto on a baking in one single layer. Bake until crispy, about 8 minutes. Be sure to watch carefully as it has a tendency to burn.
- In a small bowl, combine mayo, zest and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cut watermelon into ½ inch slices, make the pieces large enough to fit onto the bread in one single layer.
- Cut halloumi cheese into horizontal slices. Heat a medium non-stick pan to a medium heat. Add cheese, cook until golden brown on each side, about 1-2 minutes per side.
- Spread bread with mayo. Top with seared halloumi cheese, followed by watermelon, then arugula and finally the prosciutto.
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