Meet my latest dinner offering for Girls’ Night!
I know what you’re thinking. A salad. For Girls’ Night. How cliche. I bet you washed all the talk about diets and male-bashing down with a big, fat glass of pinot grigio.
Well, ok, you would be right about the wine, except that it’s Old Vine Zin. Way classier, less Real Housewives. But there is no male-bashing (with the tiny exception of how none of our husbands can dress our children in anything that remotely matches. EVER.) Diets? What are they? You mean eating regimens that suck all the fun and happiness out of life? Yeah… no.
So why make a salad if our gatherings are clearly the antithesis of male-bashing, calorie-counting female gabfests? Well, THIS salad has bacon. AND avocado. AND there’s dessert. AND let’s not forget the aforementioned Old Vine Zin. Knowing you won’t be regretting what you ate for dinner is a safety net because we will all most certainly regret that extra glass of wine and/or piece of Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake. (Stay tuned for that gem. OMG.)
I’ve been making my BLT Salad for years, and what makes mine extra-special is the addition of copious amounts of diced avocado. YES! I was just recently inspired to add fresh corn by Jessica over at How Sweet It Is, and I’m loving it. I’m sure when I was fresh out of college and still in the dark ages with making my own salad dressing I used some sort of Newman’s Own, which is perfectly acceptable, but this homemade Herb Vinaigrette from Cook’s Illustrated is quite possibly the world’s most perfect summer dressing. It practically BEGS to be drizzled over a BLT Salad. So, I listened. I drizzled. I loved. You will, too.
- 8 slices thick-cut, smoked bacon
- 2 large heads of Boston lettuce (or really any you prefer- this is my fave), chopped
- 2 large tomatoes, diced, or a generous pint of cherry/grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2-3 cobs)
- 2 avocado, peeled and diced
- Herb Vinaigrette
- ¼ c cider vinegar (white balsamic or white wine vinegars would also work)
- 2 T minced shallot
- 2 tsp mayonnaise
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ c extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 T minced fresh parsley
- 1 T minced fresh chives
- 2 tsp mixed fresh herbs, minced (I used thyme and oregano, but tarragon would also be deeeelish)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place strips of bacon on a wire rack set over a large roasting pan lined with parchment paper (or just directly on the parchment-lined pan if you don't have a wire rack). Roast for 17-20 minutes, or until golden brown. When cool enough to handle, dice bacon.
- While bacon is roasting, make the dressing. First, combine the vinegar, shallot, mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper to taste in a large, non-reactive bowl. Whisk until no lumps of mayonnaise remain. Whisking constantly, very slowly drizzle oil into vinegar mixture. If pools of oil are gathering on the surface as you whisk, stop addition of the oil and whisk mixture well to combine, then resume whisking in oil in a slow stream. Vinaigrette should be glossy and lightly thickened, with no pools of oil on its surface. Whisk in the fresh herbs.
- Divide lettuce, tomatoes and corn evenly among 4 bowls. Top each salad with ¼ of the bacon and ¼ of the avocado (which should be peeled and diced just prior to serving to avoid browning). Drizzle salads with herb vinaigrette and serve!