Cheap, Sustainable, Delicious: A BLT From the Sea

Smoked trout stands in for bacon in this outrageously tasty sandwich.

Smoked trout BLT
You've never had a BLT like this. (Photo: Ian Knauer)
Ian Knauer is a regular contributor to TakePart. He worked for ‘Gourmet’ and is the author of the IACP Award–nominated cookbook ‘The Farm.’

The BLT is one of my all-time favorite sandwiches and I eat them constantly throughout tomato season, but abstain completely for the rest of the year. A BLT with a mediocre T is a waste of perfectly good L and B. And there is some pretty good B out there. More and more farmers are raising hogs at a higher standard, without antibiotics and hormones, and in good husbandry. The bacon from these pigs might not have found its way onto the shelves of your run-of-the-mill supermarket just yet, but with any luck some will soon. In the meantime, mail-order away.

But given the ridiculous heatwave, I am still on a no-cooking kick. I can slice ripe tomatoes and rinse crispy lettuce (my favorite on a BLT is arugula) but I seriously do not want to turn on my stove even for a minute. So this week, after plucking some of the season’s first perfect cherry tomatoes off their vines I was left with a bit of a dilemma: how to get that smokey, briny goodness that bacon brings to a BLT with out the B?

T, dude. T.

Smoked trout is one of the few fish you can feel good about eating. Farmed rainbow trout is constantly on Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Super Green List, so you can feel good about the sustainability part of this article. It is not nearly as expensive as some high-end bacons, so feel good about the cheap part too. (As a side note, I never thought I’d write the phrase high-end bacon until just now.) And the fish is brined before it is smoked, bringing everything bacon lends to a BLT save the pig; it’s bacon of the sea. You can guess what that means: delicious, no stove required.

BLT From The Sea (well, actually, from the river-fed fish farm)

Makes 2 sandwiches

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 slices whole grain bread

1 avocado, halved, peeled and sliced

8 ounces smoked trout, broken into pieces

6 cherry tomatoes, sliced

2 handfuls arugula 

Stir together the mayonnaise and lemon juice with salt and pepper to taste, then spread on bread. Divide avocado, trout, tomatoes, and arugula between 2 bread slices, then top with remaining bread. Cut in half and serve.

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