Baconalia! Review: Bacon, Basil, and Apple Sandwiches with Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale

On the Left: Bacon, Basil, and Apple Sandwiches with Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale

This is one of my favorite sandwiches and definitely my favorite dairy-free sandwich.  (Due to a guest with a food allergy, Baconalia! was dairy-free.)  Much like the logic behind the BLTs, I wanted something with a little substance, but not too laborious to make.  Besides, little sammies are super cute.  I’m a little annoyed with the baguette that I used for these; as you can see in the picture, it did not offer me much uniformity. Fortunately, we devoured these pretty quickly and the presentation blunder became my little secret.

Similar to the BLTs, I focused on ease and taste in the making of these.  I fried, drained, and then cooled some Black Label bacon.  While the bacon cooled, I sliced the baguette on its diagonal, pulled apart some basil leaves and washed them with my salad spinner (I selected larger ones, to get maximum coverage on the bread), and sliced up some granny smith apples.  I left the apple peel on as it’s full of delicious fiber.  Up to this point, I’d done a lot of bacon “sampling,” so was glad to munch on some apple.  The sandwich assembly went: bread, apple (the most apt to fall out, so pressed down into the bread just a teensy bit), bacon, basil, bread.  The basil sort of held things down and together.  I debated putting these big toothpicks/mini skewers I bought in them, but as they didn’t seem to need them, I determined it unnecessary and potentially annoying.  My skewerpicks are bamboo, so tree killing was not a part of my debate.  If you have not considered bamboo as a toothpick material, I suggest you do.  Bamboo is great and not just for pandas.


Like I said above, I really like this sandwich and eat them pretty regularly.  I got the recipe out of my Meat Club for Girls cookbook which I totally bought based off of the name combined with the very pinkness of its cover – but it’s totally a classy shade.  Most of the recipes in the book are rather piddly and call for things far from my world and kitchen, so it was great to find the BBA sandwiches.  Because I used larger leaves, the basil in this was pretty pronounced.  As a basil fan, I was totally down with that.  Also, I think it was pretty important to blot the bacon, as I suspect the grease would have wreaked havoc on the basil and a big part of the enjoyment of these sandwiches is the way the crunch of the apple, the fat of the bacon, the chew of the bread, and the tear of the basil juxtapose and play with each other – both in terms of its flavor profile and as a textural experience.  They are delicious and easy to prepare, two of my favorite things.  I mean, yeah, “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens” are pretty swell too, but I don’t eat those things.

I paired this with Great Lakes Brewery’s Burning River Pale Ale, which is an American Pale Ale.  I really like this beer; it’s another of my standards…like to the extent that I know where it’s cheapest (7.99/6 pack) to purchase.  Anyway!  I particularly liked it with these sandwiches, which(es?) was no surprise.  The beer is a bit citrusy and piney, and I really enjoyed that with the basil.  (Remember, I picked out the more ample leaves.)  It also has a bit of wheat in it, which I feel pairs nicely with a sandwich.  It’s light and crisp, a clean tasting beer, which resembles and complements the sandwich. 

This was an A+ combo, composed of two A+ parts.  It’s combinations like this that make me wish I could bring a beer to work with my lunch – because, yipes, is this an enjoyable combination.


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