Years ago, during a previous administration, I went to eat at the Ritz Carlton Dining Room knowing that Gary Danko was chef there. I'd met him a year earlier when Madeleine Kamman introduced the two of us. Both of us studied with Madeleine, Gary was with her in 1984 and I got a Master Chef Diploma in 1985. You see if Madeleine had had a daughter, I think her name would have been Joanne and if she'd had a third son after Neil and A.D., I think his name would most certainly have been Gary. We were lucky, she loved the two of us and forever I will be thankful for two things,- the extraordinary depth of knowledge she shared and for introducing me to my best chef friend, Gary.
And this past Sunday, during SF Chefs 2011, Gary and I did our usual song and dance routine that we've done since the inception of SF Chefs,- we taught a class together.
The first year it was all about tomatoes, the second year we had fun playing with raspberry schrub and on Sunday, we each did a riff on America's favorite sandwich, the BLT. I did a BLT salad and Gary did a BLT soup.
I think you might have the salad recipe already but I thought I'd include it again along with Gary's recipe for the soup. Treasure Gary's recipe! It's rare and very special to get a recipe from him. (I can't wait until he writes his first book.) And make sure you join us next year for our class at SF Chefs 2012.
Read more about BLT at:
BLT – Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Soup
Ingredients1 pound fresh ripe tomatoes, cored seeded, diced
½ large (4 ounces) red pepper, cored, seeded, diced
1 – 2 small Persian (4 ounces) cucumbers, peeled seeded and diced
2 large leaves (2 ounces) Romaine lettuce
¼ (1-1/2 ounces) red onion, peeled, diced
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 small cloves (1/8 ounce) garlic, peeled and smashed
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Puree all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth. Strain through a sieve and chill completely. Serve cold.
Chopped Romaine lettuce
Diced red peppers
Diced rendered bacon
BLT SALAD WITH CREAMY AIOLI DRESSING
½ loaf coarse textured bread
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
6 slices thick-slice apple-smoked bacon, ½" pieces, about 6 ounces
12 cups mixed baby salad greens
8 ounces various colored cherry tomatoes, halved
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons homemade mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat an oven to 400F.
Tear the bread into ¾ to 1-inch pieces. Alternately you can cut the bread into ¾-inch cubes. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Bake in the oven, tossing half way through, until crisp and golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
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.
In the meantime, place the salad greens and cherry tomatoes in a large salad bowl.
Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan. Add the garlic, mayonnaise and vinegar to the pan and whisk together. Season with salt and pepper. Add the vinaigrette and the bacon to the lettuce and tomatoes and toss together. Serve immediately.