I was so happy today to see that tomatoes are finally showing their face at the farmer's market. I was there early shooting with my producer and teaching a class on how to make my BLT Salad. I know a lot of you were there and want the recipe-- I promised I'd post it.
The class was fun! The Food Network was shooting me in action too which meant there were a lot of cameras. But the best part was the salad. You have to make it. It tastes just like a BLT sandwich without all the bread. I take that back... there are some croutons...
Words of warning-- Wait for delicious summer tomatoes, buy amazing bacon (how can you ever go wrong with bacon?) and make homemade mayonnaise for the dressing. Honestly, you have to make this thing. Like right now!
Please let me know how it turns out, OK? Promise?
BACON, LETTUCE AND TOMATO SALAD WITH CREAMY AIOLI DRESSING
6 slices thick-slice apple-smoked bacon, ½" pieces, about 6 ounces
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 cups rustic bread, cut or torn into 1-inch cubes
12 cups mixed baby salad greens
8 ounces various cherry tomatoes, halved
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons homemade mayonnaise (OK, if you have to, store-bought)
Freshly ground black pepper
Place the bacon in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook, turning occasionally, until the bacon is golden and crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Reserve. Remove the pan from the heat. Let the pan cool 5 minutes.
Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan. Remove and reserve 1 tablespoon for the dressing. In the pan, add the olive oil and crushed garlic. Cook over medium heat until the garlic turns golden and remove. Discard the garlic. Add the croutons and cook, stirring and tossing until golden, 5 minutes. Season with salt. Remove from the pan and reserve.
In the meantime, place the salad greens and cherry tomatoes in a large salad bowl.
Add the reserved bacon fat back to the pan. Add the minced garlic and vinegar to the pan and whisk together. Add the mayonnaise and whisk together. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the vinaigrette and the bacon to the lettuce and tomatoes and toss together. Serve immediately.