Hondashi BLT

Want to make your BLT tomatoes taste more intense and tomato-y? Season them with hondashi, aka instant dashi granules! 

Hondashi: the secret to instant umami

Kombu (a dried seaweed) and bonito flakes (dried and fermented tuna) are the two primary ingredients in dashi: the umami-forward and slightly smoky soup base that flavors some of Japan’s most treasured recipes, including miso soup and ramen. In this recipe, we use instant dashi granules to add instant umami smokiness to our tomatoes. 
Before you write off hondashi as some cheap substitute, it actually has a pretty good reputation for when you need dashi in a pinch. I keep it in my fridge at all times, and it comes in handy anytime I want to make a quick miso udon for lunch or to add depth and umami to pretty much anything. It also has a hefty dose of MSG, which I wrote about in more detail here (hint: it’s not bad for you). You can buy hondashi at your local asian market or online.

Steps to achieve BLT greatness

Get the best summer tomatoes you can find and season them aggressively 

A BLT is a tomato sandwich first and foremost, meaning that late summer is prime BLT season. In addition, you want to season the tomatoes aggressively, as tomatoes can handle quite a lot of salt. Season with hondashi, flaky salt, freshly ground pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. The tomatoes won’t taste salty, but they will taste more like themselves.  

seasoned tomatoes

Opt for sweet, crunchy lettuce

There’s a time and place for peppery arugula or bitter baby kale, but a BLT is NOT one of those. Here, you want ultra crunchy, sweet lettuces like little gems, romaine, or even iceberg (don’t hate). 

Toast your bread in bacon fat

Don’t pop your bread in the toaster! Once you finish cooking your bacon, drain out excess fat, then toast your bread directly in all the bacon-y goodness. 

Don’t skimp on the mayo

I prefer kewpie mayo, on which I have waxed poetic before, but feel free to use your favorite mayonnaise here. This is the one part of the BLT where you can take some creative license. Think: Spicy mayo, salty caper-herb mayo, smoked paprika mayo, miso mayo, the options are endless. However, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with plain mayo in this classic sandwich.  


Hondashi BLT

Recipe by Molly MossCourse: SoupsDifficulty: Easy
Total time

15

minutes

Want to make your BLT tomatoes taste more intense and tomato-y? Season them with hondashi, aka instant dashi granules! 

Ingredients

  • Thick cut bacon (plan for about 3 slices per sandwich)

  • Plump summer tomatoes

  • Hondashi, flakey sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and olive oil

  • Bread, ciabatta, brioche, milk bread, or thick cut sourdough all work great

  • Mayonnaise (kewpie, or an aioli of your choice)

  • Crisp lettuce, like iceberg, romaine, or little gems

Directions

  • Place cold bacon in a cold cast iron pan and turn the heat to medium high. Cook until fully rendered and crispy, flipping about halfway through. For crispier bacon, use a bacon press or the bottom of a pan to keep the bacon flat.
  • While the bacon cooks, thickly slice the tomatoes. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil, then season with a sprinkle of hondashi, flakey sea salt, and freshly ground pepper. Taste a tomato and add more hondashi or salt if desired. It’s ok if the tomatoes taste intense on their own, you want them to pop against all the other ingredients. seasoned tomatoes
  • When the bacon is ready, remove the bacon and place on a paper towel lined plate. Drain excess bacon fat, leaving enough in the pan to toast the bread. Over medium low heat, add the bread to the bacon fat and cook each side until nicely toasted. Be careful now to burn.
  • To assembly, generously slather both bread slices with mayonnaise, then top with lettuce, tomatoes, and bacon. Enjoy immediately hondashi BLT

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