“Regular” Tomatoes

Photo: Photography by Kang Kim; Illustrations by John Burgoyne

Heirloom tomatoes have such a monopoly on the imagination of the typical Greenmarket shopper these days that to traffic in good old Jersey beefsteaks requires a bit of salesmanship. Take, for instance, the sign at Yuno’s farm stand that reads regular tomatoes. It goes on to explain, in so many words, that although these tomatoes are hybrids, they are not inherently evil—in fact, they’re perfectly vine-ripened, sweet and juicy, and, at $2.50 a pound, almost half the cost of the average heirloom. Persuaded, we brought a bunch home, and then asked Momofuku Ssäm Bar’s Tien Ho to come up with a BLT recipe that would do these so-called regular tomatoes proud.

Tien Ho’s BLT With Spicy Mayo

1 cup Kewpie mayonnaise (available at Sunrise Mart)
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce (Sunrise Mart)
16 slices Burgers’ jowl “bacon” (available at smokehouse.com), or substitute your favorite bacon
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for bread and tomatoes
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, sliced into half-inch strips
Salt and pepper to taste
4 half-inch-thick slices of good Italian bread, like Sullivan St Bakery or Grandaisy Bakery’s filone
4 beefsteak tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350. Make the spicy mayonnaise by mixing Kewpie mayonnaise with Sriracha. Reserve cold. In a large sheet pan, cook bacon in oven to desired crispness. Reserve warm. In a large sauté pan, sweat onions in olive oil until tender. (1) Add lettuce and season with salt and pepper. Lightly cook through and reserve warm. Brush bread with olive oil and grill on both sides. Season with salt and pepper. (2) Spread spicy mayo over grilled bread. (3) Top with sautéed lettuce-onion mix and slices of tomato. Season tomatoes with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Finish with bacon.

“Regular” Tomatoes