Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Big Fat Salad
Let's say that someone gave you a pound of bacon. And let's say that, aside from cooking up the bacon and eating it all in one sitting, another simple presentation that might better enhance this particular pig perfection might be...the BLT? It is a perfect sandwich when prepared with perfect ingredients. Thing is, in the dead of winter (or beginning of spring) amazingly flavorful red tomatoes are nowhere to be found. Similarly, the toasted bread slices that can be the hallmark of a (particularly diner style) BLT, typically shred the roof of my mouth as if I'd just bitten into sandpaper lined with razor blades. How are you supposed to enjoy your sandwich after that experience? You don't. So make a salad instead!
It's much easier to find tasty grape or cherry tomatoes in the off season and making your own bite sized croutons IN BACON FAT...well...there are no words. But just to up the fat ante, I added some avocado. I considered adding blue cheese as well, but that begins to enter into Cobb salad territory, and I was trying to stay focused. Did I mention that you make the croutons in BACON FAT?
4 bacon slices
2 slices bread (of your choosing), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 avocado, sliced
1. In a large skillet cook the bacon over medium heat, turning occasionally until crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove the cooked bacon to paper towels to drain. (Once cool, break apart into pieces.) Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the skillet.
2. Heat the bacon fat over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking, and cook the bread cubes with a pinch of salt and pepper, stirring, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the croutons to paper towels to drain and cool. Taste and adjust seasoning.
3. In a large bowl whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the tomatoes, lettuce, half of the bacon, and croutons. Toss to coat with the dressing. Divide the salad between 2 plates and top with remaining croutons, bacon, and avocado slices. Serves 2.