There’s absolutely nothing – and I mean nothing – wrong with the traditional BLT: smooshy preservative-laden white bread, mayo (actually, this is the one place I want Miracle Whip), tomatoes, ice berg lettuce, and copious amounts of crispy bacon and black pepper. Perfection.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t try to make it better.
From the bottom up, we have toasted bread slathered with ranch (because this is Texas and we ranch all the things, all the time), topped with a handful of salad greens, sliced roma tomatoes, avocado slices, crispy bacon, and a filet of salmon seared in the drippings from that crispy bacon.
Because go big or go home, right?
(And then when you get home, go ahead and make a breadless version for the EightySevenPercent Whole30er in the house. Later this week, the EightySevenPercent Whole30er in this house will show you how.)
Open-Faced Salmon Avocado BLTs
It's the ultimate (SA)BLT: crispy bacon, salmon seared in bacon drippings, sliced avocado, and ranch.
4 slices crusty white bread, sliced on the diagonal
4 slices thick bacon
4 3-4oz salmon filets, skin removed
2 roma tomatoes, sliced
1/2 large avocado, sliced thinly
Toast the bread slices under the broiler until browned on both sides.
In a skillet over medium-high heat, crisp the bacon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving behind as much bacon dripping as possible.
Salt and pepper the salmon and sear, covered, for 4 minutes.
Flip and cook another 2 minutes. Transfer to the plate with the bacon.
Build the sandwiches from the bottom up: bread, ranch, salad greens, tomato slices, avocado slices, bacon, and salmon.
Top with chives, grab a fork and knife, and dig in.
It’s not Fat Tuesday yet but don’t let that stop you. I sure as heck didn’t let it stop me from whipping up a monster pot of chicken and sausage jambalaya. I found it to be the perfect opportunity to try out cauliflower “rice” on the family.
Their verdict? Well, they did let me live to share the recipe. Soo…
Jason: It’s a little different. And it doesn’t taste much like cauliflower. [That is a win from him.]
Landry: I NEED SOME MILK! [I’ll return my Mother of the Year trophy, stat.]
I never know where to draw the line with her. Because this is the same little girl who took snagged a serrano pepper straight off the plant and took a bite out of it and had absolutely no reaction. None. ZERO.
So cauliflower rice is not rice at all. It’s fresh cauliflower florets that have taken a ~15 second low-speed spin through the food processor so that the size and appearance looks rice-ish. But the flavor? All cauliflower.
I happen to adore cauliflower (Exhibits Aand B. And C.). I can actually remember the first time I ever ate raw cauliflower: it was the summer after my freshman year in high school (because cauliflower didn’t come in a can), and it was served like we serve every other veggie down here in Texas: with half a squeeze bottle of ranch dressing.
Raw cauliflower can be pretty strong and cooking it will really help reign-in the flavor. And cooking it in a big pot with caramelized vegetables, sausage, chicken, garlic, and bay leaves? The cauliflower is mostly masked by the stronger flavors of the jambalaya.
The one real difference between the original recipe and the cauliflower version is the amount of liquid you’ll use at the end of the recipe. The original recipe adds a bunch of chicken stock and water, which the rice would then absorb. With the cauliflower, you’ll only add as much chicken stock as you need to reach the consistency you’re looking for. Where I’m from, the jambalaya isn’t overly soupy so I tried to add as little as possible but as you can see, I did have some standing liquid.
Enjoy it. We sure did. It is a little different but it is every bit as delicious as a more traditional rice version.
Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya with Cauliflower "Rice"
Hearty chicken and sausage jambalaya made with cauliflower "rice."
1/4 cup olive or your cooking oil of choice
2 medium onions, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 bunch chopped green onions, dark green parts reserved for garnish
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cayenne/red pepper
1lb smoked sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 tsp Tony Chachere Original Creole Seasoning*
1 1/2lb chicken, cut into 1-in cubes
3 bay leaves
1 medium cauliflower head, sliced into florets (will make 3-4 rounded cups of "rice")
1-2 cups chicken stock
*Tony's has salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic, onion, and at least oregano. If you can't find it, season the chicken with at least salt and pepper before adding it.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, white and light green parts of the bunch of green onions, salt, and cayenne. Stirring often and keeping the lid ajar, brown the vegetables for about 20 minutes.
Scrape the bottom and sides to loosen any browned particles. Add the sausage and cook, stirring often and keeping the lid ajar for 10 to 15 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides to loosen any browned particles.
Season the chicken with Tony Chachere's.
Add the chicken and the bay leaves to the pot. Brown the chicken for 8 to 10 minutes, scrapping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned particles.
While the chicken is cooking, add the florets to the bowl of a food processor. Chop on low for 15-20 seconds, until the cauliflower is small and resembles rice.
Add the cauliflower and 1 cup chicken stock.
Cook and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring a few times, until all of the cauliflower has softened. If necessary, add additional chicken stock (I tried to add as little as possible so I wouldn't have a ton of standing liquid).
Remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered for 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves. Stir in the dark green onions and serve.
As much time as I’ve spent there over the last couple of years with my mom, you’d think I wouldn’t be so surprised. But I still am. How a hospital, a place with a core business model of healing and wellness, can have such awfully unhealthy food is beyond me.
I spent a week eating from bags, boxes, and coin-operated machines. And unless we’re counting Polynesian sauce as a vegetable, there were some days that I’m certain nothing I took a bite of ever grew in any ground.
But as we’re again returning to some sense of normalcy around here, heavy one house guest (hi mom!), I have returned to zoodling everything in sight and making magical melty cheese sauces. And for those who refuse to jump on my still-a-one-girl zoodle bandwagon, they get pasta with their magical melty cheese sauces. Real pasta.