BLT Summer Salad

For this simple salad, heirloom tomatoes (choose red, green, yellow, deep purple, whatever your markets and farm stands have on hand) are marinated in a vinaigrette dressing and arranged on a platter or on individual plates. Mixed greens tossed in more of the dressing are added next. Crumbled blue cheese and bits of bacon are sprinkled over the salad as final flourishes. Offer this salad as a first course for a summer supper or use it as a side dish for a backyard barbecue. Or, pair it with some crusty bread and a chilled soup for a light luncheon entree. This BLT variation is as good as the sandwiches and just as addictive.

BLT Summer Salad

1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, heirlooms in different colors such as red, yellow and green if possible (See note.)
2 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon country Dijon or regular Dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
6 generous cups (about 5 ounces) mixed greens
4 bacon slices, fried until crisp, then drained and coarsely crumbled
3 to 4 ounces crumbled blue cheese (Roquefort works well.)
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Slice tomatoes into 1/4 inch thick slices and place in a shallow nonreactive dish.
In a small nonreactive bowl, whisk together vinegar, salt, and mustard. Whisk in olive oil. Pour half the mixture over the tomatoes and marinate them 1 to 1 1/2 hours at room temperature.

2. When ready to serve, arrange tomatoes overlapping in the center of a large serving platter. Pour any juices that have collected in the dish over the tomatoes. Season with several grinds of pepper. Toss the greens with the remaining half of the vinaigrette dressing, whisking it well before using. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Arrange the greens around the tomatoes. (Or, if you like, divide tomatoes evenly and arrange on 4 salad plates, then garnish with greens.) Sprinkle tomatoes and greens with crumbed bacon and blue cheese. Serves 4.

Note: There are many varieties of heirloom tomatoes. I use whatever the local farmers bring to the Saturday market in our town. Reds often include Cherokee Purple and yellows have names like Nebraska Wedding and Indian Mist. Orange strains are labeled Jaune Flame and Marisol and greens are called Green Zebras and Pineapple. Any will do in this recipe. Just try to pick an assortment of varying colors, sizes, and tastes.

© Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2011

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