Sometimes when you come across a recipe, a light bulb goes off—you know you have to cook it. This had that effect on me. More than anything, I was amazed this idea had never occurred to me. Why wouldn't the sublime combination of bacon, lettuce, and tomato translate from sandwich to salad? This recipe from Bon Appetit claimed it would.
Before you think this is somehow healthy because it's a salad, let me point out that it's not. The warm dressing is made by whisking mayonnaise with a little rendered bacon fat and vinegar. Sure, the crispness of the romaine holds up well to a warm, rich vinaigrette—but it's still not diet food.
Given the choice, I would still have a BLT over this salad. But next to a slice of crusty bread, this is another way to enjoy one of the classics.
- 5 ounces thick-cut bacon, about 6 slices, cut crosswise into matchsticks
- 12 cups torn romaine lettuce leaves, from 1 large head (about 13 ounces), washed and dried
- 8 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved, or larger tomatoes cut into wedges
- 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
Place bacon in large skillet over medium-high heat. Once it begins to sizzle, turn the heat to medium-low and cook slowly until chewy and slightly crisp. Remove to drain on paper towels, leaving a tablespoon of fat in the pan.
Increase the heat to medium and add the garlic to the skillet. Cook for a minute or two, until soft and fragrant, then remove from the heat. In the meantime, place lettuce and tomatoes in a large salad bowl.
Whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, and garlicky bacon drippings in the skillet. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then pour over lettuce and toss to coat. Top with bacon and serve immediately.