Bill Leslie: The best BLT

The mad scientist in me has been at work again. It happens every summer when tomatoes are ripe and plentiful — I experiment with tomato sandwich recipes.

A recent home recipe was delicious featuring a ripe Cherokee Purple heirloom tomato. Other ingredients included sweet basil, smoked gouda cheese, bacon, avocado slices, mayonnaise, salt, pepper and toasted sourdough bread. sometimes I keep it simple, but this time a more complicated recipe really worked. Former co-anchor Lynda Loveland told me about sweet basil years ago. It can add a wonderful layer of flavor to a tomato sandwich. You can also substitute pimento cheese or a slice of sharp cheddar for the gouda.

The best BLT I’ve ever tasted at home or in a restaurant is in Chapel Hill. I was there this week with friends and we all agreed – it doesn’t get any better than Merritt’s Grill.

We were smart. We arrived shortly after 11 a.m. to avoid the long line that would form later. But even if you have to wait, it’s worth it at Merritt’s