We loaded our small car with bags, snacks, iPhones and while “Danny the Champion of the World” played through the speakers. Gabe drove with hands gripped tightly on the wheel as rain pelted against the window through much of the drive to Portland. We needed the sort of adventure that comes when we step outside of our routine. We wanted to try new things, visit old friends and to hit a sort of reset button by shaking up the familiarness of our days.
This sandwich was inspired by our little trip. We happened upon Roman Candle when looking for nothing in particular. I ordered a sandwich called, The Darling. How could you not with a name like that? But really it was the promise of kale, chickpeas, chilies and ricotta on olive bread that led me to order when I had already filled up on pastries from the previous stop. The sandwich was good, their gelato; even better.
The kale had heat and softness while the ricotta cooled. At home, I turned the chickpeas that were in The Darling into bacon because I felt the sandwich needed a bit of texture and I thought how cool it would be to dethrone the beloved BLT. Well, maybe not dethrone but perhaps be a Winter equivalent to my most loved sandwich. The olives were left out only because capers were in my fridge.
A few things to note as you adapt this sandwich to suite your own tastes. Had I remembered to grab a fresh red chile from the store I’d throw those in instead of the ground chile pepper I added. Also, had I had a lemon there would have been a squeeze of that too to brighten. Even a Winter’s sandwich needs a bit of brightness, in fact perhaps more so than Summer’s.
That is the story of the BKR: Bacon, Kale, Ricotta. Think of it as Winter’s solution to the inevitable craving for a BLT when tomatoes exist only in our dreams along with the melody of ice cream trucks and little toes dip into plastic pools.
BKR (Bacon, Kale, Ricotta) Sandwich
Makes 2 sandwiches
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 bunch kale, rinsed and cut in 1-inch ribbons
pinch chile flakes
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1/3 cup ricotta
4 strips bacon, cooked until very crisp
4 slices bread, toasted (with butter in a hot skillet is how I like to to it)
Add the oil to a hot skillet. When the oil is shimmering add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 second over medium-high heat. Add all of the kale along with a pinch of salt and chile flakes (or sliced fresh chile if you have it). Saute until wilted and soft, about 3 minutes.
Transfer the kale to a bowl then stir in the capers. Taste and add more salt if needed and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice if you happen to have it on hand.
At this point I toast the bread in the still-hot skillet with a bit of butter. Try rubbing the bread with a garlic clove for another boost of flavor.
Divide the ricotta between the four slices of bread. Add the kale to two halves, then two strips of bacon on each sandwich and finally, top the with the other pieces of bread with ricotta.
Slice in half then enjoy.
*I can’t help but think that goat cheese would be great in place of the ricotta. I plan to try it soon. If you do, let me know how it goes. I guess we’d have to change the name to BKG. I like that too.