After a week on the road I came home to a load of greens in the garden just waiting to picked. So after a quick trip to the grocery on Tuesday to get some additional essentials, I've been making salads all week. I have to admit, all this salad eating is a bit out of character for me. I think the difference this year is partially that I'm growing the greens (I still can't get over how cool this is), and that I'm expanding my salad making recipes. No more lettuce with chopped carrots and a few tomatoes for me. I have branched out in my salad fare, and am loving every minute of it.
This BLT Salad came together easily, used a ton of greens (this could be modified depending on your preferences), and was nice and light at the end of a warm summer day.
Adapted from Food & Wine
Three 3/4-inch-thick slices of rustic bread, cubed (4 cups)*
1/4 cup basil leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
1/2 small shallot, coarsely chopped
4 thick slices of bacon, broken into edible bits
5 cups torn lettuce (approximately 1 head of lettuce)**
1 cup chopped red cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped yellow sweet tomatoes
Grated hard ricotta, parmesan or other hard cheese (optional)
Preheat the oven to 250 F. Spread the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the bread cubes are dry and slightly crunchy.
For the dressing combine the chopped basil, olive oil, Champagne vinegar and chopped shallot in a small bowl and mix well. Season with pepper to taste (I would usually add salt to a dressing but the bacon provided enough salt for my taste in this salad.)
In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Transfer the bacon to towels and let drain.
In a large bowl, toss the toasted bread cubes with the bacon, lettuce and tomatoes. Add the basil dressing, toss the salad until evenly coated and serve. Pass grated cheese at the table if desired.
Whole Wheat Rustic Bread from The Bread Workshop in Berkeley
Basil and lettuce greens from the garden
Red and Yellow tomatoes from California
*I used a whole wheat loaf but any rustic white or whole wheat bread would work.
**I used a combination of butter lettuce, winter density, and kale, however the original recipe calls for 1 head of butter lettuce.
***For a vegan or vegetarian version of this salad simply take out the bacon. Either tofu or tempeh might be nice substitutes.
(photography by: alison clayshulte)