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The Sandwich Salad

July 13, 2010

It’s not uncommon for salads to be turned into sandwiches – egg salad, chicken salad, chicken Caesar salad, etc.  But today’s recipe reverses the practice by turning a sandwich into a salad.  Who doesn’t love a good BLT sandwich (outside of vegetarians of course), with smoky, crisp bacon, fresh lettuce, sweet and flavorful tomatoes, and just the right amount of mayo?  Well subtract the bread, turn the mayo into a tasty aioli dressing, and you’ve got a BLT salad.  I did make an alteration to this recipe, which comes to us from Bon Appetite Magazine – the original calls for raw cherry tomatoes.  But I thought that pan-roasting them for just a minute would help bring out the flavor a little more, and it turns out I was right.  I contemplated adding more veggies to the salad, such as cucumbers or carrots, but I’m glad I didn’t.  The simplicity really makes this an enjoyable dish, allowing the key ingredients to shine. The just-warm tomatoes compliment the cool, crisp lettuce and bacon, and the aioli dressing ties it all together.  Serve with some toasty garlic bread and it’s a relatively healthy, light and fresh meal.  Enjoy!

Bacon, Lettuce, and Cherry Tomato Salad with Aioli Dressing

(serves 4)

5 oz. applewood-smoked bacon (about 6 slices)

1 large head romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped

8 oz. cherry tomatoes and/or grape tomatoes, halved

2 garlic cloves, pressed

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 ½ tablespoons white wine vinegar

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp; transfer to paper towels. Crumble bacon coarsely. Heat bacon drippings in skillet over medium heat.  Add tomatoes; cook until just softened, about one minute, stirring often. Remove tomatoes and drain. Add garlic to skillet, then mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper; whisk until blended, about 30 seconds. Place lettuce and tomatoes in a serving bowl. Pour dressing over lettuce and tomatoes and toss to coat. Sprinkle bacon over. Serve immediately.  Eat!

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