So because I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with bated breath to see just what was going to happen with the Green Goddress Dressing I posted last week… behold: The BLT Salad.
Yes, you read that correctly. Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato. In salad form. Seriously, could anything be more classic and summery?
And paired with that beautiful and herb-y dressing? Perfection.
How to Pick the Lettuce
This salad really depends on having the best of the best produce. I mean you can argue that all salads require this, but when you have a salad that’s literally is highlighting the lettuce and the tomato as two of the 3 title ingredients, you’re going to want to make sure you have the best ingredients possible.
I have a strong strong preference for red leaf lettuce in most salads. The texture is generally a bit more sweet and tender than green leaf lettuce, but you still get some of the fun curly texture. But it’s not toooo tender that it can’t hold a dressing for more than 30 seconds before wilting, and it still has some crunchy bits for interest.
Mmmmm. Have I convinced you?
I just love it.
But, really, if you have a strong preference for another lettuce, go right ahead. Because everyone has their own style.Romaine would work well, and probably butterhead too (although be very careful not to dress butterhead to early or you will get wilt). I’d avoid arugula just because I think it’d compete with the flavors here a bit too much.
But always always always use the freshest lettuce you can find. I hate using the bagged stuff and always go straight for the section of the produce department that has the full heads of lettuce and pick from there. That way you can find the absolute freshest bunch.
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If you wash and cut your lettuce right away from the grocery store and put it in your own bags (just make sure to dry it well in a salad spinner), you can store lettuce for about 5-7 days before it starts to get brown and wilty on you. (Compare that with pre-bagged lettuce that is brown and wilty upon purchase…)
How to Pick Tomatoes
Tomatoes are always tough to gauge for quality at the grocery store, especially when they’re all so nice and pretty looking. But we all have had that experience of getting a beautifully reddened and blemish-free tomato home from the store and realizing that it was one of those “artificially ripened” tomatoes and we’ve been fooled!
The best tip I’ve got is to buy tomatoes in season. No matter how pretty they look in January, they’re probably going to be dry, hard, and bland.
If you can, get vine ripened tomatoes or tomatoes that you find at the farmers market. They will be the most flavorful. (Or get your husband to grow some in the garden… feel free to thank me later for my always reasonable suggestions).
Another good trick is the smell test. If buying little guys (like the ones pictured here) in a plastic container, they should still have some little holes in the packaging. Don’t be shy- smell it and see what I’m talking about. Good tomatoes will have an earthy, slightly sweet smell. If they smell like nothing, don’t bother.
Similarly, if picking out tomatoes on the vine, or large tomatoes sold singly, smell them right where the stem meets the tomato. This will be your best indicator of a ripe tomato.
Finally, test the texture. Tomatoes that are ripe will feel firm but not hard, and feel heavy for their size. They won’t be soft or squishy, though – this is an indicator they have gone past their prime.
Put it All Together
Once you have all the best produce your store (or preferably market!) can provide, it’s time to bring it all home to assemble the salad. Its just as easy as tossing all the ingredients into a big bowl and drizzling on a generous amount of my Green Goddess dressing.
I like to finish this with a sprinkle of fresh chives and some freshly ground black pepper. And then proceed to eat so much of this salad in one sitting that it no longer is actually considered a “healthy” meal.
But seriously, I hope you enjoy this summer treat of a salad. I think it’d would work amazingly for a Fourth of July BBQ.. (hint hint!)
Happy Monday everyone!
- 12 oz Center Cut Bacon Cooked, roughly torn
- 1 head Red Leaf Lettuce (Substitution with Romaine or Butterhead would be fine)
- 10 oz Tomatoes I used cherry heirlooms, but use whatever you can find locally that is fresh/ripe
- 2 cups Croutons Homemade, or store bought
- 1/2 cup Green Goddress Dressing (*see notes for recipe link)
- 2 tbsp Minced Chives (Optional, for garnish)
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper To finish
- In a large bowl combine lettuce, tomatoes, croutons, and bacon. Toss gently to combine.
- Drizzle dressing over entire salad and toss again.
- Finish with minced chives and freshly ground black pepper.