The BLT is one of my favorite comfort foods. In the late summer, when tomatoes are at their ripest, most delicious selves, I almost always come home from the farmer's market with a loaf of french bread, heirloom tomatoes and greens (there is always bacon in my refrigerator, always always always), and they quickly become the almost-instant-gratification expression of delight-- a juicy, delicious and meaty sandwich. And as much as I love tomatoes any way I can get them (minus from other people's refrigerators, naturally, because that makes them all mealy), I have a particular fascination with mayonnaise, too. So between the french stuff, the artisanal hipster stuff from Brooklyn with the chile tinge and the perfect workhorse, Hellman's (or Best Foods if you're west of the Rockies), there are many delicious versions to always keep me interested and to highlight the perfect sandwich.
When I was planning the breakfast-palooza! menu, I had a hard time figuring out how to work in a proper green salad with the circus of carbohydrates I was offering up. It occurred to me that even though it wasn't summer and tomatoes aren't really in season, except, of course, here in Southern California where most produce is pretty much in season all the time, and BLTs aren't really a breakfast food at all, they still pop up on brunch menus sometimes and they would probably taste great next to all the other stuff I was planning to force into the arteries of my guests.
And I was right. This salad is quick, delicious, and Rachel Zoe is somewhere in a corner, furiously shoving it into her mouth whispering, "I die" to anyone within earshot. I would make it as an entire meal for two and eat the whole thing myself.
This recipe can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.Yield: Serves 2 as a main course
6 bacon slices (about 1/4 pound)
1/4 loaf Italian bread
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon water
1 small red onion
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes (about 3/4 pint)
1 head Boston lettuce
In a skillet cook bacon over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Reserving 1 tablespoon bacon fat in skillet, drain bacon on paper towels and crumble. Cut bread into enough 3/4-inch cubes to measure 1 cup. Heat fat over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and sauté bread cubes with salt to taste, stirring, until golden brown. Transfer croutons to paper towels to drain and cool.
In a small bowl whisk together garlic, lemon juice, mayonnaise, water, and salt and pepper to taste. Slice onion and halve tomatoes. Tear lettuce into bite-size pieces.
In a large bowl toss together onion, tomatoes, lettuce, half of bacon and croutons, salt and pepper to taste, and enough dressing to coat.
Divide salad between 2 plates and top with remaining croutons and bacon.
I Octomom-ed (multiplied by eight) this recipe and people were scraping the bowl for more, even after the two rounds of appetizers that preceded the salad. So I'm guessing it was a big hit. I personally loved the dressing and wanted to bathe in it.