FFWD – Deconstructed BLT and Eggs

The finished salad, with greens on the bottom and bacon, croutons and mayonnaise-dolloped eggs on top.

Your perfect greasy spoon may be someone else’s idea of the eighth circle of hell. Opinions on the best breakfast spot can cause nearly friendship-rifting arguments. For some reason, the short-order grill menu evokes loyalty to an ideal that is broadly agreed upon, though the details are fiercely contested. Think about your favourite lunch counter sandwich – you know exactly how your grilled cheese (or maybe it’s a tuna melt, Monte Cristo, clubhouse, or Reuben) should be made. So, deconstructing the BLT – the ultimate greasy spoon sandwich – is a daring undertaking.

Cherry tomatoes from my mother's garden, halved and whole.

This week’s French Fridays recipe turns the sandwich into a salad, adding oeufs mayonnaise for some extra protein. Nothing about the recipe is difficult, but it’s a multi-step process that can take some time to complete. Hard-boiled eggs, crisp chunks of bacon, cubes of country bread browned in bacon fat, halved cherry tomatoes and chopped sun-dried tomatoes – once these ingredients are prepared, it’s almost meal time. Once the greens and tomatoes have been tossed in vinaigrette (I used Dorie’s Everyday Vinaigrette recipe, as suggested), the rest of the ingredients are scattered on top and the dish is complete.

Chunks of bread ready for their transformation into croutons.

I followed the recipe almost exactly, only straying when I found myself adding dried parsley, ground rosemary and garlic powder to the bread cubes as they cooked. It was a nice addition. The salad divided nicely into three generous dinner portions and was a surprising hit. I enjoyed it more than I’ve ever liked an authentic BLT. (Feel free to start vilifying me now, Team BLT.)

The bacon, in the pan and ready to be cooked.

So tell me, what is the most important thing that makes a greasy spoon great? What changes would make your favourite dish there inauthentic or disappointing? What would make you take a road trip to find out if a breakfast joint was as good as advertised? And lastly, what was the name of your long-lost favourite cheap eats spot? I know there is one; so many have disappeared over the last few decades.

The finished salad, in a blue bowl on a white lace tablecloth.

You can find many other blogged descriptions of this week’s FFWD recipe here: Deconstructed BLT and Eggs


40 thoughts on “FFWD – Deconstructed BLT and Eggs

  1. Your salad looks delicious and that nice thick bacon looks divine. But I fall squarely into Team BLT πŸ™‚

    I think the reason we love greasy spoons is that they serve unpretentious comfort food. I love a good BLT, rueben, grilled cheese, you name it. What makes a great greasy spoon is one which makes everything in house, but without trying to fancy it up. For example, one my all time favorites is (or was, no idea if it is around any longer) is the Truck Stop in Wells River Vermont. As the name makes clear, this is a truck stop right on the highway where all the truckers stop for the night. At first glance the menu offers no surprises, but what makes the place great is that everything is really home made, from the pies to the bread which they use to make their sandwiches, it’s all made fresh in house.

  2. My personal philosophy on the greasy spoon is that it has to serve pancakes all day. Is that totally weird?! My favorite one growing up was the Big Stop in Enfield, Nova Scotia. It is also a truck stop, but it’s amazing. Great job with the salad.

    1. I don’t think that’s weird at all. One of the places that I like to go has a breakfast wrap that they serve all day. It’s as satisfying for a late brunch as it is for an early breakfast.

  3. I like the greasy spoon, mom and pop places for things like a generous plateful of eggs benedict and things like that, my ultiimate comfort breakfast foods at a low price and a good portion. I only stray from them when I find something charming about the new place or a variation I like to mix things up a bit. A new place for a girls breakfast out prehaps. I have to disagree with you on the salad, I definantly liked the sandwich better, but to each their own right? πŸ™‚

    1. It’s nice to have a regular spot or two, especially when they don’t threaten your budget. I think I’m in the minority about the salad/sandwich faceoff – I’m just glad there are options!

  4. Very lovely.
    It is always a wonder to me that one man’s feast is another man’s nightmare πŸ™‚
    For me, the hallmark of a good diner is it’s ability to churn out homefries. The potatoes have to be cooked through but not mushy; and then the homefries need to have the right amount of “crispy-crunchy”-ness on the outside. Bad homefries are a deal breaker for my relationship with any diner.

    1. How a place treats potatoes makes a huge difference in whether or not it’s up to snuff. As for the feast/nightmare dichotomy, for a long while my partner and my best friend disliked each other’s favourite breakfast spots. It made weekend brunch arrangements a bit hard. Luckily, common ground was finally found.

  5. I’m in Team BLT, for sure. Salad is fine, I guess, but a sandwich is better. lol

    A good diner will give me toast that’s better than the toast I make at home (since they use 42x more butter than I would, and stack them so they’re soaked through top and bottom). Growing up in NY, I used to judge diners by their egg creams, but I’ve had to amend that, as I never see them outside of NY. I asked for one in RI once, even though it wasn’t on the menu, and they stared at me like I was speaking another language.

    1. I’ve read about egg creams, but I’ve never had one. I know people have very strong opinions on how they should be made – kind of like opinions about diners in general.

  6. We all have our opinions about what’s good and what’s gross. My husband and I have an on going disagreement about buffets, he loves them, I don’t. Finally he took me to one too many bad buffets and I mostly refuse to go to them anymore:) Your salad looks delicious!

  7. My brain does not compare this salad to a BLT sandwich…one is a salad with stuff added in…and don’t we usually add stuff into a salad. And one is…well, a BLT…it is what it is. If someone served this salad to me, made just as Dorie suggests, I don’t think my brain would go to “BLT,” I would just think, oh, this is a delicious salad that the maker went to the extra effort to fry bacon, etc. They just don’t compare. That said, my favorite “greasy spoon” is Mel’s Diner in Beaver, UT. Just a stop between here, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City where we find ourselves a few times each year, on our way to visit extended family. It has been there forever…don’t know why we started stopping there as it has no restroom, but the food is always fried to perfection, their shakes are creamy and think, and they cook to order. Their fries are batter dipped and then fried, I love their chicken and fish…all fried and greasy and dreamed about all along the road. We all have t-shirts from Mel’s and this spot is always part of our “vacation” when we make that 14 hour drive.

    Anyway, great photos as always…enjoyed your post.

    1. Truck stops and diners are part of what I look forward to when going on a road trip.Mel’s Diner sounds like a great place.

  8. There were some steps in putting this final salad on the table. And when you add photographing along the way, it really prolongs the process πŸ˜‰ However, I think we all enjoy this process – I certainly do!

  9. Great photos, Teresa, especially the one of the tomatoes. I enjoyed this salad as much as a good BLT sandwich. Which team does that put me on?
    I would definitely drive out of my way to check out a reportedly good greasy spoon. I have a copy of Jane and Michael Stern’s books and refer to them before any road trip to somewhere new.

    1. Thanks, Betsy. I think you’re the peacemaker of the group – everyone else seems to be firmly in one camp or the other. I just looked up the Sterns’ website. Next time I take a road trip in the States, I’m going to refer to it.

    1. I loved the croutons a little too much, actually! I agree with you on the grease. I’m not a big fan of overly greasy food. Places that can do the classics without too much grease are heaven!

  10. Theresa, I used to hang with a girl in college who described everything she disliked as ‘the eighth circle of hell”. She used to say it with the most serious face. The hyperbole always made me giggle which she used to find very frustrating. For me I think the eighth circle of hell would be a place where all my favorite sandwiches were served deconstructed. But that is just me. Despite this feeling I will try for this one this weekend.

    1. That’s funny, Trevor – she must have been an English major (like me)! There’s nothing like a good Dante reference, I always say. I’m curious to see if you think this salad is heaven or hell. I thought it was surprisingly good.

  11. Teresa, We really enjoyed this salad…the combo of flavors really complimented each other however, I still love a good BLT sandwich. Your salad looks great…the addition of seasonings to your croutons was a good idea, I thought they needed a little kick!

  12. Great salad. My favorite lunch counters, where ordering a BLT, or club, and some fries and toping it off with a orange freeze, are all long gone. Even our local diner that made great feta and spinach omlettes is empty. I still stumble over a few spots that can still do these sorts of lunches and breakfasts justice, but I suspect that the reason they are fading is that for us and for more and more folks, eating this way is a sometime treat and not an everyday endeavor.

    1. I think that’s true, though there is a little bit of an upscale revival of this sort of food, at the same time.

  13. Hi Teresa! I will try this salad, it looks and sounds delish! I’ve been a life long lover of a BLT and never spare the mayo on the toasted bread. So, it looks like this salad has it all going on and would make a great week night meal. Enjoy your Thanksgiving and all the fine eating that goes along with your holiday;-)

  14. Theresa, it looks great! For me, I love a good greasy spoon version of Grilled Cheese. And yes, it is the absolute only time I will tolerate that plasticky American Cheese stuff. I always enjoy your posts!

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