I’m pretty darn proud of this one! It satisfies all your food cravings save chocolate (after all, this is a salad I’m talking about). The key is delicious fresh produce and this wowzer of a dressing.
1 lb. of your favorite bacon, cooked and chopped
4 perfectly ripe avocados, chopped
4 juicy Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 head butter (Bibb) lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
1 head red leaf lettuce, also torn into bite size pieces
1 Romaine heart, chopped
4 slices of good sourdough bread, cut into 1/2″ or 3/4″ square pieces
1/4 cup Lemonnaisse (regular mayonnaise is OK)
1 large or 2 small lemons, juiced (+1 if using reg mayo)
1 tsp stone-ground mustard (+1 if using reg mayo)
1/4 cup EVOO
1 tsp bacon grease (!!!!)
Several grinds of black pepper
Pinch sea salt
Optional: a little lemon zest never hurt anybody 🙂
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Fill your kitchen sink with cold water and dump in all the lettuces. Let them hang out there for about 10 minutes while you attend to other stuff, then remove and give them a few whirls in a salad spinner. This was enough lettuce that I had to go in 3 batches but maybe your spinner is bigger. Once they’re as dry as they’re going to get transfer to a very large serving/salad bowl and set aside.
Cook the bacon however you prefer, drain on paper towels, and reserve a teaspoon of the drippings.
Get out a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Arrange bread evenly in one layer, drizzle with olive oil, and season with a little S&P. Pop into the oven and toast for 5-10 minutes. If the bread is fresh it will take more towards 10, if it’s dryer 5 will be fine, but also it depends on how crunchy you like your croutons so just keep an eye on them. Set aside to cool when they’re ready.
Onto the dressing! In a medium sized mixing bowl, plop the Lemonnaisse, stone-ground mustard, lemon juice, and bacon grease. Whisk together and season with fresh ground black pepper and sea salt. While continuing to whisk, add the EVOO in a steady stream. If it looks a little thick add more EVOO, if you want it creamier add some more Lemonnaisse, if you really like pepper add some more of that, etc. Pour over the lettuce mixture in the very large salad bowl.
Reuse the post-dressing mixing bowl to combine the chopped tomatoes, avocadoes, and bacon. Squirt with some lemon juice so the avocadoes stay green. Add a serving spoon and to table this bowl goes.
Add the croutons to the big salad bowl and give it a good tossing to coat both lettuce and croutons. Add whatever salad-serving-utensils-you-use and this baby’s ready to join its buddy at table.
When serving, give yourself a nice bed of lettuce/croutons/dressing and then top that off with the avocado/tomato/bacon mixture. BAM!
This is better than any BLAT sandwich…although, to give credit where credit is due, this was totally inspired by my beloved Hi-Life’s heavenly lunch creation. The lemon aioli they use makes the sandwich POP! in your mouth, I only ever wish there was more lettuce/tomato/avocado because of my more veggies-to-meat ratio obsession.