The Bold Ingredient That's Been Missing From Your BLT

What's the most tried-and-true workhorse of a sandwich in your bodega's arsenal (after bologna and cheese on Wonder Bread, obviously)? Is it a BLT? We thought so. It's time to say "thank you" to that humble sammy that works so hard for you — and with one tip, expressing a little well-deserved gratitude to the undying institution of the BLT can be as simple as a single ingredient swap. Take your BLT to sandwich stardom and replace the mayo with garlic aioli.

Crispy, smoky bacon, acidic-sweet tomato, and bright, fresh lettuce marry for a sandwich that's both accessible and complex ... and desperately in need of a moisture element. Typically, that's where creamy mayonnaise would enter the picture. But, to play up the savory depth of the bacon, hit that BLT bread with a pungent, sharp-yet-tempered umami smear designed to make the mouth water.

Garlic aioli (not to be confused with remoulade) is essentially garlic-flavored mayonnaise. You can make a traditional, thick, luscious homemade garlic aioli in less than 10 minutes, but to be clear, no one's saying you have to go to all the trouble of making a break-free emulsion here. You're making lunch, not performing brain surgery. A small scoop of grated or minced fresh garlic mixed into regular store-bought mayo will get the job done. For more thorough incorporation, slam that minced garlic in the food processor with a little olive oil to turn it into a smooth paste.

Garlic aioli takes BLTs to the next level (aka the BLTG)

To build a better-than-ever BLT, simply spread that flavor-packed garlic aioli on both pieces of bread. Two tablespoons of mayonnaise per clove of grated garlic is a solid jumping-off point, but feel free to adjust the proportions to suit your taste preference. Pro tip: If you toast your sandwich bread, the aioli smear turns it into garlic bread.

If you have a little extra time on your hands, hit that garlic with a quick pan-roast to deepen those bold flavors — and for the most crave-able umami upgrade, use Japanese Kewpie mayo, which is made with MSG and egg yolks only rather than including the egg whites. Feeling extra ambitious? You could roast a whole clove of garlic in the oven, then scoop out the resulting soft paste and stir that into your store-bought mayo (swoon).

Rock the picnic and pair your umami sammy with a fittingly savory side dish, like this bacon egg and ranch potato salad. To elevate your garlic aioli BLT even further, top it with a sesame oil fried egg, half an avocado, or furikake flakes (or all three). You could amp up this already-amped Sweet Heat BLT with "swicy" hot honey by smearing some umami garlic aioli on the other side of the bread. Or serve your garlicky BLT sammy on an everything bagel for the ultimate hangover brunch — you can thank us for that one later.