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John Whaite's BLT Italian style
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The BLT is a personal favourite of mine – one which, as a child, I used to pray to find, along with peanut butter and jelly, in my lunchbox. This is a more sophisticated version of that classic. Radicchio, in place of regular lettuce, adds its slightly bitter tang, which marries well with the boldness of the olives, capers and sundried tomatoes.
For the sandwich:
8 smoked pancetta (or streaky bacon) rashers
2 ciabatta rolls
50g sundried tomatoes (drained weight), roughly chopped
4 radicchio leaves
Drizzle of balsamic vinegar
For the mayo:
50g pitted black olives, neatly chopped
2 tbsp non-pareil capers, roughly chopped
3 heaped tbsp mayo
1 tbsp neatly chopped fresh parsley
For the mayo, mix the olives, capers, mayo and parsley in a bowl. Set aside until needed.
Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the pancetta or bacon rashers and fry until coloured, flipping once –
I do this in two batches so as not to overcrowd the pan. Put the cooked rashers on a plate lined with a sheet of kitchen paper to blot dry. Don’t remove the fat from the pan, and leave the pan on the heat.
Slice the ciabatta rolls fully open and fry in the bacon fat, cut side down, for a minute or two, just until slightly golden.
To assemble, spread the mayo on both halves of the ciabatta. On the bottom half of ciabatta place the sundried tomatoes, then the pancetta, then the radicchio. Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar to sweeten, then top with the second half of ciabatta and cut in half to serve.
Comfort by John Whaite. Published in 2017 by Kyle Books, photography by Nassima Rothacker
This recipe was first published in October 2017.