Monday, August 28, 2017

Salad Smackdown: BLT Salad!

When the heat of summer hits and tomato season finally rolls around, one of my favorite summer salads-for-dinner is a big ol' panzanella. Starting with a triumvirate of stale bread, juicy tomatoes—especially those squishy super ripe ones that have been sitting on the counter a little long—and leafy green lettuce, then tossed with any other garden veg you have (cucumber, beans, you name it) and dressing, it's dinner in a bowl! Here contributor Jim Dixon of Real Good Food adds his two cents-worth.

BLT Salad

I ate the first tomatoes from my garden this week, and I've got another week before a lot more will be ripe. But it's officially tomato season in Portland (almost always toward the end of August). Here's one way to add even more tomato-y goodness to your plate. (If you're not growing any, look for the dry-farmed Early Girls at New Seasons; they taste like home-grown tomatoes.)

To make this more than just a tomato salad with bacon, start by toasting the bread in bacon fat. Cook about a quarter pound of good bacon until it's crispy. Set the bacon aside and add a couple of handfuls of cubed bread to the bacon fat. If there's not enough to really coat the bread, add some extra virgin olive oil. Toast the bread on the stovetop or in the oven until it's lightly browned.

Chop a few tomatoes into bite-sized pieces, shred some iceberg lettuce—unfairly maligned but perfect for this; you could use romaine if you can't get past your iceberg prejudice—and crumble the bacon. Stir together about a quarter cup of good mayo, 2 tablespoons each of Katz Gravenstein apple cider vinegar [regular cider vinegar works, too] and extra virgin olive oil, and 3 tablespoons buttermilk. [I added a tablespoon of Dijon mustard just 'cause] Combine everything and toss well with flor de sal and freshly ground black pepper. BLT in a bowl!

See more Salad Smackdown recipes for easy salads with big, bold flavors.

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