Monday, May 5, 2008

The BLT Salad... GENIUS!

Really, is there anything in this world as delicious as bacon? I mean, seriously, think about it. Think long and hard, delve deep into your culinary soul, and tell me if you can come up with any one ingredient that rivals bacon in making a dish taste extra good. Bacon enhances almost everything, in almost every genre of cuisine. I like it in pasta, in lentils, with eggs and pancakes, wrapped around various ripe fruits, served on a baked potato, and now in a salad. The wonder of cured or smoked pork in cuisine extends beyond the spectrum of the usual American table bacon and into the more exotic realm of prosciutto, Serrano hams, pancetta, and the like.

What then, could be a better addition to a salad than bacon? I am not talking weird, fake bacon bits on a hum drum salad of iceberg lettuce with ranch, but rather large chunks of real, authentic, crispy fried-fresh-at-home bacon. Combine that with slices of a healthy, ripe tomato and a buttermilk dressing, and put it all on a bed of crisp romaine with some homemade croƻtons, and - bam! - you have yourself a comfort food salad at its finest, the BLT salad!

I plan to eat this for lunch all summer. It gets so hot in Texas in July and August that cooking warm foods, let alone eating them, is almost unbearable. The heats kills the appetite (even my appetite, which is a hard thing to squelch). This salad will be my go-to meal on a hot day. I can handle ten minutes in front of a skillet for a refreshing dinner. If I wanted to get crazy-California hip I might even add some avocado and sprouts too. Enjoy!

Serves 4


  • 8 slices bacon (8 ounces total)
  • 1/2 baguette (8 ounces), sliced into 3/4-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound romaine-lettuce hearts, chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange bacon in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper. Bake until browned and crisp, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.Cool, then crumble into large pieces.
  2. Make croutons: Toss bread with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, tossing halfway through, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, mayonnaise, vinegar, and scallion; season with salt and pepper. Add lettuce, tomatoes, and croutons; toss to coat with dressing. Sprinkle with bacon.

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