BLT Panzanella

Summer is in full swing around here, as evidenced by my sunburned shoulders (ouch), and I’m trying to enjoy as many summery things as possible before Labor Day. Cookouts, lake trips, outdoor movies, beach days, you name it. Everything is more fun when you’re outside.

That includes eating, of course. Summer food is usually so simple, yet so rewarding. Hamburgers (or veggie burgers), sweet corn, watermelon, anything and everything on the grill. I love when it’s so warm all the time that I actually find myself craving salad!

This BLT panzanella is a fun and hearty summer salad that would be a great addition to a picnic, but it can also be a main course on its own. It’s basically a deconstructed BLT in salad form, and it’s on heavy rotation in my meal-planning schedule. Whenever I’m lucky enough to have fresh avocados on hand, I’ll chop one up and throw it on top. Hardboiled eggs are a great addition too.

I hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday weekend! Summer is fleeting, so soak it up while you can!

BLT Panzanella

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BLT Panzanella

Salad

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 small baguette, cubed (the cubes should be crouton-size, or about 1-inch square)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 6 oz. bacon
  • 1 heart of romaine, chopped, rinsed, and dried
  • 2-3 medium tomatoes, sliced into wedges
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan

Dressing

  • 3 Tbs. Greek yogurt
  • 3 Tbs. buttermilk or half and half
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • salt
  • pepper

Preheat oven to 425° F. Melt the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Add the cubed baguette and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. (My go-to spice blend for croutons is Penzey’s sandwich sprinkle, but plain old salt and pepper works just fine.) Transfer the croutons to a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Bake for about 10 minutes, tossing halfway through, until evenly browned and crunchy. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, place the bacon in a large nonstick frying pan or griddle and place over medium-low heat. Cook, turning occasionally, until bacon is browned and crisp. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and let cool.

To make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, buttermilk, garlic, and lemon juice. Stir in salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble the salad, toss together romaine, tomatoes, croutons, bacon, and parmesan cheese. Serve with dressing on the side.

Source: Annie’s Eats.