- 8 slices good-quality smoky bacon
- 12 slices 1/2-inch-thick 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 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
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees . 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 1/4 inch EVOO over medium-high heat. Fill 3 shallow dishes, respectively, with the flour,the egg whites and the breadcrumbs mixed with the cornmeal, pecorino-romano, 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 to 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 3 tomato slices and 2 crisscrossed bacon slices. Top each with about 2 tablespoons ricotta and set the roll tops in place.