Unsandwiched BLT

Who doesn't love a BLT?

It's a classic diner dish, even country club fare (although the "club" sandwich is more traditionally found on mostly lame country club menus) and a perfect ending to a long summer day.

Often times, my cooking reportoire gets stale, so I'm continuously on the prowl for new and creative dishes to make. Especially exciting twists on the classics. I've seen this recipe for a BLT salad twice now, and when I saw it in the July issue of Bon Appetit magazine, I decided enough was enough.

So I went to Whole Foods and bought the best bacon I could find. Pederson's Natural Farms offers an all-natural uncured apple smoked bacon that has no growth hormones, no nitrates, no preservatives, no nada...nothing but quality, meaty bacon. And with only 180 mg of sodium for two slices, I can feel a lot less guilty about eating bacon. That the pigs are raised humanely makes it taste even better!

Considering that tomatoes are at their peak...and that my windowsill is covered with them...it seems like a perfect summer dinner.

In my humble opinion, I think butter or Bibb lettuce is mandatory for this salad. I found two beautiful heads at Central Market. Oh, and an avocado, too.

So rather than a bread-laden BLT, why not treat yourself, your family and your friends to a wonderful BLT salad? You get all the flavor and none of the carbs.

Now that's what I call a perfect meal.

Buen provecho!
BLTA Salad
Adapted by The Cowgirl Gourmet from the July 2010 issue of Bon Appetit magazine (recipe provided by Joanne Weir)

Print recipe

Serves 4 as a salad and 2 as an entree

5 ounces applewood smoked bacon (about 6 slices, and consider cooking an additional slice per person to put on top of the salad)
10 cups of butter (Bibb) lettuce or 2 heads, washed, dried and well-chilled
8 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved, or fabulous homegrown tomatoes, cut in 1/8's
1 avocado, pitted and sliced or cut into chunks
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced super fine
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp; transfer to paper towels and dab the top of the bacon with another paper towel to remove all of the grease. After the bacon cools, crumble bacon coarsely. Pour off all but 1 Tablespoon bacon drippings from skillet; reserve skillet.

Place chilled lettuce and tomatoes in a large serving bowl. Heat bacon drippings in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, then mayonnaise and vinegar; whisk until blended, about 30-40 seconds. Season dressing with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Pour over lettuce and tomatoes and toss to coat. Sprinkle bacon over top, add sliced avocado, top each salad with one whole slice of bacon for a garnish and serve immediately.
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