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Dinner Rush! Gin + Tonic Salmon BLTs

Cooking Channel has gone mash-up crazy in the best way possible. Caesar salad is commingling with pizza. Doughnuts are adorning icebox cakes. Would a rose by any other name taste as sweet as lasagna meatloaf? If you’re still looking to deviate from the norm, here’s one more for you to try: the BLT meets a gin and tonic.

For many of us, a hearty BLT and a refreshing G&T are already a match made in heaven. Crispy thick-cut bacon on mayo-slathered toasted bread deserves the stylish sophistication of such a timeless drink — it’s like edible shabby chic. Don’t fret, though, if you’re not into the whole “booze for dinner” thing. It’s fine to leave out the gin if you don’t care for it; this open-face knife and fork sandwich will still be a dinner-table rock star.

After you’ve given this a go, c’mon back to Cooking Channel for even more craveable comfort food mash-ups.

Gin + Tonic Salmon BLTs

Total Time: 17 min
Prep: 5 min
Cook: 12 min

Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

For the BLTs:
8 thick-cut slices bacon
Four 4-ounce skinless salmon fillets
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 slices multigrain bread, toasted
1 small head Boston lettuce
2 vine-ripe tomatoes or Roma tomatoes, sliced

For the Gin + Tonic Dressing:
1/2 shot gin
Zest and juice of 1/2 lime
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
Zest and juice of 1/2 orange
Pinch ground allspice
Pinch ground cardamom
1-inch piece lemongrass, tough outer layers removed, very finely chopped
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil or vegetable oil
Salt and ground black pepper

Lay the bacon in a large cold saute pan and place it over medium heat. Cook the bacon, turning occasionally, until the fat has rendered out and the strips are evenly golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes.

While the bacon is cooking, whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing, seasoning as needed with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Remove the cooked bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate and reserve. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat and return the pan to medium-high heat.

Season the fish with coriander, salt and pepper. Saute the salmon, turning once, until golden brown and cooked to your liking, about 2 minutes per side for medium. While the fish is cooking, stir together the mayonnaise and mustard, seasoning it as needed with salt and pepper. Start to assemble the sandwiches by spreading the mayo mixture on one side of each slice of bread. Stack a few leaves of lettuce, a few slices of tomato and two strips of bacon on each bread slice. When the fish is ready, place a fillet on each sandwich and drizzle with the prepared dressing. Serve warm.

NOTE: Starting the bacon in a cold pan is necessary so that, as the pan heats up, the fat will slowly render out of the bacon, leaving you with crispy strips of smoked, salted bliss.

Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary teams for Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, Marc Forgione and Bobby Deen, he now works on digital production for FoodNetwork.com, CookingChannelTV.com and Food.com in NYC by day and develops recipes at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following him on Twitter & Instagram at @patrickwdecker or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com.

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