Open-Faced Fried Tomato and Bacon Sandwiches with Tomato Milk Gravy
Makes four servings
1) Fry the bacon in a large, cast-iron skillet until it's crisp and brown. Remove the bacon, reserve 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat, and wipe the excess grease out of the skillet. Drain the bacon on paper towels and keep warm in a 200 degree oven.
2) In a shallow bowl combine 3/4 cup flour with 3 tablespoons basil, the salt, and pepper. Cut the tomatoes into 1/3-inch slices.
3) Return the reserved bacon fat to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons (olive oil) oil and heat until the fat is sizzling hot, but not smoking. Quickly dredge the tomato slices in the flour mixture. Fry the tomato slices in
batches until they are evenly brown but not falling apart, about 5 minutes on one side, then 2 to 3 minutes on the other. Take the skillet off the heat, remove the tomatoes, and drain on paper towels. *Set aside 6 of the softest tomato slices, and keep the rest warm. Start toasting the bread.
(*Cooks Note: After frying all the tomatoes set aside 6, the falling apart ones are good for this)
4) Place skillet back over medium heat and add remaining oil ( 1 tablespoon olive oil) Whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon
flour and whisk for 1 minute, taking care not to let the flour bum. Reduce heat to lowand gradually whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth. Add the 6 soft tomato slices, one at a time, and whisk to liquefy the tomato after each addition.(Cooks note: I do this with a fork)
5) To assemble, place 2 slices of toast on each plate. Cover the bread with 3 strips of bacon. Arrange tomato slices on top and spoon some of the sauce over all. Garnish with the remaining 3 tablespoons basil and serve, or serve with poached or fried eggs for a hearty meal.