- 8 slices good-quality smoky bacon
- 12 1/2-inch-thick slices green tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for frying
- Flour, for dredging
- 2 egg whites, beaten
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic (about 1/2 palmful)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated onion (about 1/2 palmful)
- A handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground fennel seeds (about 2/3 palmful)
- Grated peel of 1 lemon
- 1 head butter lettuce
- 4 crusty ciabatta rolls or quartered ciabatta bread
- 1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
Place the bacon on a slotted broiler pan, place the pan in the middle of the oven and bake until crisp, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, arrange the tomatoes on paper towels and salt generously on both sides; let the tomatoes weep.
In a large skillet, heat a quarter inch of EVOO over medium-high heat. Fill three shallow dishes, respectively, with the flour, egg whites and breadcrumbs mixed with the cornmeal, Pecorino-Romano cheese, garlic, onion, parsley, fennel seeds, lemon peel and pepper, to taste. Coat the tomatoes in the flour, then in the egg whites, then in the seasoned breadcrumbs. Working in batches, add the tomatoes to the hot EVOO and fry until deep golden, 2-3 minutes on each side, wiping out the pan and replenishing with EVOO between batches. Let cool on a wire rack.
Place a couple of lettuce leaves on each roll bottom and stack with three tomato slices and two criss-crossed bacon slices. Top each with about 2 tablespoons ricotta and set the roll tops in place.