Tomato Salad with Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Basil

The first of the heirlooms appeared last week at the local farmer’s market.  There were just a few varieties, but there is the promise of much more to come.  I like the combination of different colors and tastes and I generally come home with several pounds.  Their time is fleeting and we’ll have them for about 4 weeks.  So they  show up on the dinner table just about every night.

If asked, I’d admit that I mostly prefer them sliced with a little salt and pepper.  But this salad was a winner.  How could it not be?  Bacon makes everything better.  And good, creamy blue cheese moves this just a little to the rich side.  Not too much.  The dressing is light and fresh with an interesting mix of herbs that perfectly complements the sweet basil and all the other stuff.

I used this as a topper on some torn, tender butter lettuce, sprinkled it with just a bit of flaked lemon salt and served it with a simple grilled chicken for a quick summer dinner.

Tomato Salad with Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Basil

Adapted from Food & Wine

Serves 4 – 6

¼ pound sliced applewood smoked bacon

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon cider or champagne vinegar

1 clove garlic, very finely chopped

1 teaspoon good Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon herbes de Provence

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 pounds assorted fresh tomatoes, cut in quarters or smaller if you prefer

2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (½ cup) – I like creamy Maytag for this

½ cup torn basil leaves

2 cups butter lettuce, torn

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Pans Set

GreenLife Soft Grip Healthy Ceramic Nonstick 16 Piece Cookware Pots and Pans Set, PFAS-Free, Dishwasher Safe, Turquoise

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In a medium skillet, cook the bacon slices over moderate heat until crisp.  Drain the bacon on a paper towel and then crumble.  In a small bowl, combine the olive oil with the vinegar, garlic, Dijon mustard, and herbes de Provence.  Season with salt and pepper.  Put lettuce on a platter and arrange the tomatoes on top.  Season lightly with pepper.  Drizzle the vinaigrette over the lettuce and tomatoes.  Top with the crumbled bacon and blue cheese.  Garnish with the fresh basil and a sprinkling of the flaked lemon salt.

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