My Summer Salad: The BLT Panzanella
This is my best friend of summer salads. The one I pull out time and time again when I want a light dinner, or a heavier side dish, or I generally just have a craving for a BLT. (I know that sounds silly, but those cravings happen fairly often!) I first found it on Food52 practically the day after it was published. I made it the week after publication and have done so steadily ever since.
The magic in this salad is not from on particular ingredient. It is from the salty sweet combination of the bacon and tomato, the bright lemony dressing, and the man-sized croutons which soak all the flavors right up. It is tossed with arugula – my favorite green for hearty salads – and served up with a fork for spearing. It is basically a deconstructed BLT which is why the flavors work so well. The new form makes it perfect for a spring or summer dinner, an easy lunch, or anywhere in between. I dare you to make it once and not find yourself making it again and again!
adapted from Food52
- 6 ounces ciabatta, cubed
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 ounces bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 handfuls baby arugula
- Juice and zest of ½ lemon
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon leftover bacon drippings
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the cubed bread on cookie sheet in one even layer and bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden and hardened.
- Meawhile, cook the bacon in a skillet until browned and crispy. Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Reserve 1 teaspoon of the drippings. Whisk the drippings together with the lemon juice and zest, mustard, olive oil, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper.
- In a large bowl toss the arugula, croutons, tomatoes, and bacon. Drizzle the dressing over it as you toss everything together. Taste for seasonings and serve.