Martha Stewart and Ina Garten both have a large repertoire of recipes, including recipes for BLTs.
I decided to try both of the celebrity chefs’ recipes in order to determine which one I preferred. Unsurprisingly, both recipes called for similar ingredients, but there were a few differences between Garten’s and Stewart’s methods for making a BLT.
Ina Garten’s California BLT recipe calls for smoked bacon, tomato, large lettuce leaves, an avocado, a lemon, white bread, and “good mayonnaise.”
Garten recommends using Hellmann’s, which is the brand I already buy and can be found in practically every grocery store.
I usually fry my bacon, but the recipe said to bake it, and I really liked this method.
The recipe calls for enough smoked bacon to make two sandwiches, but I cut the recipe in half to make just enough for myself.
I preheated the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. I placed five strips of bacon on a baking wire rack on a sheet pan and put it in the heated oven. After 20 minutes in the oven, the bacon turned out perfectly crispy.
The strips of bacon were a little on the thinner side, but I didn’t mind that. Cooking the bacon on the wire rack was easier than frying it, in my opinion. There was no flipping required and each side turned out perfectly crisp.
I toasted the bread in the preheated oven for about five minutes, flipped them, and toasted them for another minute.
I then smeared about a tablespoon of Hellmann’s regular mayonnaise onto each slice.
I then added washed and dried butter lettuce leaves to each side of the sandwich.
I ended up using about five lettuce leaves.
I then peeled and sliced the avocado before adding it to a small bowl.
I sliced a lemon in half and squeezed the juice on top of the avocado slices, lightly tossing them. You don’t want to mash or mix the avocado slices too vigorously, just enough to coat them in the lemon juice.
I added the avocado slices and bacon on top of the sandwich. There was a perfect amount of bacon to ensure that I would get an even bite.
Before adding the bacon to the sandwich, I soaked up some of the excess oil with a paper towel.
I then added four slices of tomato and seasoned it liberally with salt and pepper.
Other than the bacon, the other ingredients took no time at all to prepare.
The sandwich was really easy to make and required minimal effort and cleanup.
The avocado added a creamy element to the sandwich, and the lemon juice really enhanced its flavor. It tasted fresh and was perfect for a spring or summer lunch. The seasoned tomato slices also perfectly complemented the crispy bacon, which had a slightly sweet flavor.
While the simple recipe initially seemed like a no-brainer, the addition of lemon juice took it over the top and made it really stand out. I also loved the method of baking the bacon — while it took longer to make, I didn’t have to stand around flipping the bacon to ensure it was getting crispy on both sides.
I was excited to see how Martha Stewart’s BLT recipe would measure up.
Martha Stewart’s recipe for a “perfect” BLT uses thick-cut bacon, tomato, and lettuce. I opted for romaine, but you can use any kind you prefer.
For Martha Stewart’s “perfect BLT” sandwich, you’ll need white sandwich bread, a vine-ripe tomato, two lettuce leaves, a slice of thick-cut bacon, basil, butter, salt, pepper, and homemade mayonnaise.
The first thing I noticed about Stewart’s BLT recipe was that it calls for homemade mayonnaise, which I’ve never made before.
For Stewart’s homemade mayo, you’ll need one large egg yolk, one teaspoon of Dijon mustard, one teaspoon of fresh lemon juice, coarse salt, white pepper — I substituted it with black pepper, as it’s what I had — and a cup of lightly flavored oil.
Stewart’s recipe called for grapeseed, sunflower, or safflower oil, but I used vegetable oil — which is also mild in flavor — because I already had it in my kitchen.
The first step in making homemade mayo is mixing together the egg yolk, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
My finished mayonnaise didn’t exactly look like the store-bought Hellman’s mayo I usually buy, but at least it was spreadable.
The key to making the homemade mayonnaise was slowly adding in the oil.
You really need to add the oil drop by drop, or else your mayonnaise won’t thicken. Then, when you’re halfway through your oil, gently pour the rest of it into your bowl in a slow, steady stream while mixing.
I was proud that I was able to make something remotely close to mayonnaise on my own. I also made more than I expected to use in the sandwich.
I fried up some thick-cut maple brown sugar bacon in a pan on the stove.
I found that this slightly sweeter cut caramelizes nicely in the pan and adds a delicious element to savory dishes. The recipe only calls for one slice of bacon, compared to Garten’s which calls for three slices per sandwich. However, you could undoubtedly add more if you want a more filling lunch.
I fried the bacon, which took far less time than baking it. However, I preferred the crispy texture and result I got with Garten’s method.
Martha Stewart’s recipe is interesting in that it calls for both butter and homemade mayonnaise.
I’ve never added butter to a BLT sandwich before, so I was interested to see how it would taste.
I was also anxious to see how the homemade mayonnaise would fare. Out of curiosity, I tried a little on a spoon and found that while it didn’t exactly taste like the mayo I was used to, it had a nice citrusy flavor from the lemon juice.
Martha Stewart’s BLT didn’t taste like any other BLT I’ve ever had, largely due to the homemade mayonnaise and basil.
The ingredients tasted really fresh and light, despite it being a bacon-based sandwich. The basil cut through the savory flavors perfectly, while the mayonnaise added a citrus flavor to the sandwich.
The vine-ripe tomatoes were also perfectly sweet, juicy, and flavorful. Altogether, the sandwich tasted similar to an Italian Caprese salad, plus bacon.
However, I definitely preferred the butter lettuce I used in Garten’s sandwich over the romaine, and I even preferred the store-bought mayonnaise over my first attempt at a homemade version.
Martha Stewart’s “perfect BLT” took a little extra effort with the homemade mayonnaise, and I’m not sure if it was completely worth it in the end.
The cooking and preparing process was a little longer than I would usually go for. After all, I wanted to get it exactly right. If I hadn’t also tried Ina Garten’s sandwich, I might have agreed that this sandwich really was “perfect.”
However, between the extra dishes, energy, and the small serving of bacon, I didn’t think that I would actually make this sandwich again over Garten’s.