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Today’s BLT Panzanella combines two dishes that I love into one fantastic salad! All of the traditional makings of a BLT sandwich – crispy fried bacon, fresh lettuce and tomatoes, and crispy toasted bread – get combined together as a delicious panzanella!
A traditional panzanella is a Tuscan salad made from bread and tomatoes, plus other summertime vegetables (you can see our classic version of a panzanella here). To bump up the ‘BLT’ flavors in this version, we toasted our bread in a little bit of the rendered bacon dripping that were leftover from frying up the bacon – helping to give this salad even more wonderful smoky flavors!
We also added fresh basil leaves to our BLT panzanella – and the fresh and unexpected flavor from the basil totally makes this salad! Finally, a creamy and bright dressing made with lemon, Dijon and whole grain mustards, mayonnaise and other seasonings (including a little more of those rendered bacon drippings) is drizzled over the top of the salad for the perfect finishing touch!
This BLT panzanella is hearty enough as a meal on it’s own or served with a bowl of soup! Enjoy!
- 1 pound bacon
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 loaf French or Italian bread cut into one inch squares
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups chopped romaine
- 4 cups chopped iceberg
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 2 large tomatoes cored and cut into bite sized pieces
For the Dressing
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Zest from 1/4 lemon
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon crème fraiche or sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon agave nectar or honey
- Few drops sriracha, or other hot sauce of your choice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Few grinds freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons bacon fat
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon basil finely chopped
- Cut bacon strips into four pieces each and cook until crisp in a large skillet. Set aside on paper towels to drain and save one tablespoon of bacon fat in the pan and two more for the dressing for a total of three tablespoons reserved.
- Add the oil to the one tablespoon of bacon fat and heat to medium high. Add bread, salt and pepper and toss continuously until toasted on all sides, about ten minutes. Set aside.
- Cut romaine and iceberg into bite sized pieces and place in large bowl. Add whole basil leaves, tomatoes, cooked bacon and toasted bread and toss.
To Make the Dressing
- Place all dressing ingredients except bacon fat, oil and basil into a blender. Blend ingredients and slowly add bacon fat and olive oil with motor running. Toss in the basil and pulse a few times to combine.
- Serve dressing drizzled over the salad and tossed to coat, or on the side if you prefer.
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