I have a confession to make: We swiped the recipe below. It’s one of my favorite tea sandwiches, and it was created by my nephew Sam Perry as an appetizer. Sam’s a professional chef, now working at Wilshire in Santa Monica, and he arrived one afternoon several years ago to give me a hand with my annual holiday party. He had this great idea: He wanted to do mini BLTs, using slices of toasted brioche, frisee and lardons.
Well, I discovered that finding loaves of brioche can be pretty challenging. So I learned to make brioche–talk about dangerous knowledge!–courtesy Nick Malgieri’s How to Bake. Over the years the appetizer has transmogrified a bit. Even though frisee’s not hard to come by, thanks to Kentner or Maggie’s Farm, I often use other greens.
1 loaf of brioche
1 pound of bacon (I use Neiman Ranch’s uncured, which comes in 12-ounce packages, which is plenty)
greens of your choice, shredded (six or seven leaves of romaine, for instance)
3 medium tomatoes, diced
Lay the diced tomatoes on paper towels to dry out a bit. (I used the last of the Carmello tomatoes from my garden–not much to look at but pretty tasty nonetheless.) Cook the bacon: You can actually make lardons (cut the bacon in half-inch slices and fry them, then let them drain); you can bake the bacon slices and crumble them; you can pick up a package of Trader Joe’s already chopped pancetta and cook it according to the package directions. Julienne the greens. All of this can be done ahead of time.
Slice the brioche and toast the slices. (About brioche: Maybe you’ve got a good bakery nearby where you can buy it; I don’t. You could use challah instead, or some other eggy bread with a soft crumb, as a substitute.) Spread the toasted brioche with mayo, top with the shredded lettuce, the bacon and the tomatoes. Quarter each slice and serve.
Try to get some of the mini BLTs out of the kitchen and into your guests’ hands. If you serve this as an appetizer, it will be the first tray to empty. If you make it as one of several tea sandwiches, you will very quickly have the opportunity to admire the pattern of the pretty porcelain plate you served it on.