Friday, August 14, 2009

Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato Salad

I love a good BLT sandwich. When done right with crispy bacon and fresh juicy tomatoes there is nothing like it. So I wondered how I could take these ingredients and turn them into a salad. With tomatoes lining up on my counter, so fresh they are on the verge of turning, I needed to come up with a recipe that would use them all up. (The next batch gets picked tomorrow.)

I thought about making this Panzanella-like. Panzanella is a traditional bread salad served in the Umbria and Tuscany regions of Italy. It is essentially large pieces of stale rustic bread, tomatoes, cucumbers and vinaigrette, though I have had it various ways. Panzanella can get soggy. So I decided to make croutons from my stale bread. Worked like a charm!

This salad was a hit across the board -- even my non tomato eater ate gobbled it up (though passed the red bits off to his brother!)

1 package, 3 heads romaine lettuce trimmed, washed and cut into strips

4 large tomatoes (or 1 per person) trimmed and cut into bite sized chunks

10 strips of bacon, do not crumble as you want big pieces to bite into

3/4 of a baguette or 4 stale dinner rolls, cut in to bite sized pieces

6 scallions, chopped, using both green and white parts

Olive Oil, about 2 tbs for the pan

Salt and garlic powder of seasoned salt

To prepare your croutons, pour olive oil into a pan and heat over a medium high flame. When hot add the bread and coat each piece well with the olive oil. Add seasonings to taste. Brown each side and when golden brown remove from pan and place on a plate on a piece of paper towel. Cool entirely before adding to salad.

I like to cut my lettuce. I cut it in small strips as it is manageable for the children. They have an awfully hard time with large leaves of lettuce. Place lettuce in salad bowl. Add chopped scallions, and tomatoes. Mix well. When croutons have cooled, add croutons. When bacon has cooked, let cool before breaking it into large, bite sized pieces.

To make the dressing you'll need a medium sized mixing bowl, cruet or old jar. Combine ingredients in the following order and mix well until all the ingredients are blended. Pour on salad and toss just prior to serving.

For the dressing:

1/3 cup of canola oil
1/3 cup of cider vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbs. water
1/2 cup of light Mayonnaise
You may have some dressing left over, as I used about 3/4 of what I had made.

This is a salad that needs to be consumed immediately after being made.

Serves 4 adults as a main meal. Serves 8 as a small salad.

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