Happy Birthday, Elvis! Celebrate the King’s birthday today by making his amazing Peanut Butter and Fried Banana Sandwich withBacon Recipe. The blackberries are my addition, call it my present to the King. I’ve always heard of Elvis’ love for fried banana sandwiches but, I have never actually had one. So, I did a little research to see what a fried banana sandwich is all about. Let’s just say they don’t call him The King for nothing. The sandwich is all melted, warm peanut butter, salty bacon and a little hint of banana between two crispy slices of bread.
While looking for a description of Elvis’ favorite sandwich, I spent quite a bit of time surfing the web hunting for clues on how to make an authentic Peanut Butter and Fried Banana Sandwich. I searched the usual suspects like the Food Network, the Cooking Channel, cookbooks on Amazon.com, chefs like Nigella and Paula. They all had sandwiches that they claimed were the “Elvis” but, none of the offerings seemed fit for a king. The sandwiches seemed more like a peanut butter and banana grilled cheese, not nearly the stuff legends are made of. That’s when I found it. A clue. A single sentence that gave me the feeling that this was something special. After following link after link from the Graceland site it’s self, I stumbled onto a description of the way Elvis’ mother, Gladys, made the sandwich. Of course. Mom. The description mentioned the bacon, the peanut butter, the bread and then, as an after thought, “she fried the bananas in the bacon fat.” Cue angels singing and lightbulb moments. That was it. The secret of the Elvis Peanut Butter and Fried Banana Sandwich was, in deed, “fried bananas.”
To be truthful, I never saw a mention of blackberries. But, I checked on the internet to make sure blackberries grow in Mississippi. Besides, I can’t get the image of a little barefoot boy running down the dirt road leading home with his fists full of blackberries and the evidence of the ones he couldn’t carry staining his cheeks.
I’ll have to admit that we started our birthday celebrations a little early. I wanted to have plenty of time to perfect “the Elvis” before sharing it with you. And, it did take a time or two to get it right. Here are some tips you might want to follow:
First, resist the urge of “more is more.” My first sandwich was so filled with peanut butter that it oozed out of the sandwich and into the pan after melting. It was delicious but, I found myself licking my fingers more than actually chewing. Too much blackberry jam will over take the bananas.
Second, frying the bananas in the leftover bacon fat has the unexpected effect of “mellowing” out the banana flavor. I was surprised by this. I thought that cooking the bananas would concentrate the flavor. Be sure to cut them thicker that 1/4 inch and use as many slices as you would like. And, if you have bananas that are on the “green side,” all the better.
Third, dust the bananas with flour before frying. As I cooked the bananas, I kept thinking about the word that always accompanies this sandwich… “fried.” Just cooking them in the pan didn’t seem to fit the word “fried.” The second batch I dusted in flour just like you do for southern fried chicken. Elvis is southern, it only makes sense that his mother would fry the bananas this way. What I found was that the bananas got a very light “crust” on them and turned a prettier shade of golden brown. The flour must have sealed in some of the banana flavor and their taste was detected more easily in the sandwich
Last, I thought the sandwich could use a little acidity. I had some blackberries in the fridge so I cooked them with a little sugar and lemon juice. Just cook them long enough to get them hot, really, and they will give up their juice when you smash them with a fork. I left mine very lumpy and rustic with a rather tart flavor. You can use a blackberry jam that is more tart than sweet to save time, if you’d like.
I like to get the conversation going at dinner by having a little fun when we can. So we played some Elvis songs and ate in the kitchen where we could fry our sandwiches and eat them while they were hot. My family and I love to have little “friendly ” debates on topics like “the Doobie Brothers… with or without Michael McDonald? Kirk or Picard? Last night’s topic was “who was a bigger influence on rock n’ roll… Elvis or Jim Morrison?”
Whom ever you choose, there is no denying it, Elvis has the best sandwich… and the best cape…. and best hair… well, maybe Morrison has good hair…
—posted by Sandy
- 8 slices of bacon
- 3 small bananas
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ cup blackberries
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- ½ lemon, juiced
- Or ¼ cup tart blackberry jam
- 8 slices soft, French Bread
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- ½ cup peanut butter
- Cook the bacon in a medium sized frying or saute pan. Drain on paper towels.
- Meanwhile, place the blackberries, sugar and lemon juice in a small pot and cook over medium heat until the berries give off their juice when mashed with a fork and sugar is dissolved. Stir and cook to desired thickness. Or, use a tart blackberry jam.
- Slice the bananas crosswise into 2 to 3 inch segments and then lengthwise into slices a little thicker than ¼ inch. Dust the bananas with flour and fry in the bacon fat remaining in the saute pan until golden brown.
- Butter one side of each slice of bread. Spread 2 tablespoons of peanut butter on the other side of 4 of the slices. Layer bacon, bananas and 1 tablespoon of blackberry jam on top of the peanut butter. Top with the other slice of buttered bread with the butter facing out.
- Wipe out the saute pan and grill the sandwiches until golden brown.
- Serve the sandwiches warm from the pan.