Who doesn’t love a BLT? Crisp bacon and lettuce and a ruby red and ripe tomato? These are all essential summer ingredients.
A BLT is 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 and hot summer day.
Often times, my cooking repertoire 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 a 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.
I went directly 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 tomatoes are at their peak and that my windowsill is covered with them, this seems like a perfect summer dinner idea. In my humble opinion, I think butter or Bibb lettuce is mandatory for this salad. And an avocado, too.
So rather than a bread-laden BLT, why not treat yourself, your family and your friends to a wonderful BLTA salad? You get all the flavor and none of the carbs.
Now that’s what I call a perfect meal.
Summer is the time to eat as many BLT's as you can. But perhaps you are squeamish about bread these days? This BLTA salad is everything you want and nothing you don't. All it requires is crispy lettuce, ripe tomatoes, high quality bacon and an avocado for the win.
- 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 or sea 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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