I love a good BLT especially when tomatoes are in season & at their sweetest. The problem is the only tomatoes that I have ripe right now are cherry tomatoes. They certainly are sweet but its awful hard to get those little guys to stay put on a sandwich. So, I decided why not turn it into a bread salad.
Ok, this isn't an exact representation of a BLT sandwich. To start with, there is no mayo in this. Also I added a few things extra like cucumbers, red onion & basil. Still, the important components are there, bacon, lettuce & tomato. What really matters is how good this salad tasted, with the bacony, vinegar dressing soaked into the pieces of dried bread, the sweetness of tomatoes right from the vine & the bite of a red onion. A salad that is light enough for a summer evening but still fills you up.
This is one of those recipes where you can really use what you have & leave out what you don't. No cucumbers, leave them out. Got some fresh mozzarella, throw it in. I would say the most important pieces are the bacon, tomatoes & bread, of course.
BLT Bread Salad
3 - 4 c stale bread, cut into bite-sized cubes (A crusty bread really works best)
(Don't have stale bread? Cube your bread & throw it in the oven at 250 F for a few minutes)
6 slices bacon, chopped into large pieces
1 1/2 c sweet cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 small cucumber, chopped
2 slices red onion, chopped
1 c salad greens
6 - 12 large basil leaves
2 t red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
salt & pepper
Cook the bacon over medium-high heat until just getting crisp. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain. Set aside the bacon fat in the pan to use in the dressing.
In a large bowl toss together bread cubes (if you toasted them make sure they have cooled), tomatoes, cucumber, onion, salad greens, basil & bacon.
Measure out reserved bacon fat & add enough olive oil to it to make 1/3 cup. In a small bowl whisk the oil/bacon fat mixture together with the vinegar & garlic. Salt & pepper to taste, a liberal amount of pepper tastes good here.
Pour the dressing over the salad & toss to cover everything. Let the salad sit for 15 to 30 minutes to allow the bread to soak up the dressing.