Thursday, July 26, 2012

Recipe: BLT Panzanella Salad

Summertime always brings back memories of the gorgeous bright red tomatoes my mom's dad, whom we called Papa would bring to us as gifts from his garden.  They were still warm from the sun, and when combined with the salty bacon and crispy lettuce, along with the crumbly white toast (what is it that's so comforting about toasted bread?) and a healthy dollop of mayo, it was like summer on a plate. This is my slightly healthier version.

Serves 4

For the Salad:

1/2 large loaf ciabatta bread, cubed
3 small to medium sized tomatoes, largely diced
3 ounces turkey bacon cubed
3 handfuls arugula roughly chopped

Creamy Lemon Dressing:

1/2  lemon, juiced
zest of 1/4 lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon leftover bacon drippings
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons low-fat or non-fat plain Greek Yogurt
Salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste

1.      Preheat oven to 350.
2.      In a single layer on a cookie sheet, place cubed bread. Toast in oven until golden and dried through completely.
3.      In a medium sized saute pan, cook bacon until slightly crispy and nicely browned. Remove to paper towels, reserve 1 tsp drippings.
4.      Combine the dijon, lemon juice, zest, salt and pepper to taste.
5.      Whisk together bacon drippings and olive oil, then add in a slow stream to Dijon mixture.
6.      Once dressing is emulsified, whisk in Greek yogurt until fully incorporated and slightly creamy.
7.      Toss tomatoes, bacon, bread, salt and fresh cracked black pepper with dressing.
8.      Just before serving, toss in arugula. Check for seasoning, serve.

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