We had a good friend out to visit for the long holiday weekend, and I had taken a packet of duck bacon out of the freezer, thinking to wrap it around some blue cheese stuffed dates, but the time had gotten away from me, and the weekend was drawing to a close.
I had also stopped at my favorite local farm stand to pick up some corn on the cob and a couple of beeyoooutiful local tomatoes, and I got to thinking…
Hmmm, bacon and tomatoes and salad.
So I went to da Google to see what was out there, and, just like that, Laurent Tourondel came through with a simple, but really very, very good salad of tomato and onion and basil and, yes, bacon.
Chef Tourondel serves his salad with crusty bread and the seasoned mayonnaise on the side; I did without the bread and tossed the mayo right into the salad just before serving. Next time, I plan on serving this on a bed of salad greens, and plan on adding some corn shaved from oven roasted or grilled ears.
•2 garden tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
•12 basil leaves, torn
•1 sweet onion, chopped
•1/4 cup olive oil
•2 tbsp champagne vinegar
•1/4 tsp sea salt
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 pkg duck bacon
•Gateway to the North Maple Garlic Seasoning (or your favorite steak seasoning)
•Maple syrup (Grade B)
•Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)
•1/2 cup mayonnaise
•1-1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
•1/2 tsp Vadouvan French Masala curry powder (or regular curry powder)
•1/2 tsp Cajun spice blend
•1/4 tsp Caribbean Calypso Seasoning*
•1-1/2 tsp fresh orange juice
•1/8 tsp garlic powder
•1/4 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce (or your fave hot sauce, to taste)
*Or, use a combination of dried orange peel and a bit of Cayenne.
First thing, make the dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and remaining ingredients, and stashing ’em in a small, covered jar in the fridge to allow the flavors to blend.
Next, let’s make some bacon!
Heat your oven to 400º and arrange the bacon slices on a rack set into a foil lined pan.
Season the bacon with pepper, Gateway to the North Seasoning, and garlic powder to taste, then pop into the oven for 15 minutes.
Whisk some Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce into a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup in a small bowl, then brush over the partially cooked bacon.
Return to the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the bacon in browned and a bit crispity on the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a paper towel lined plate before chopping well.
Dressing and bacon prepared, it’s time to make the salad.
Arrange the tomato, onion, and basil leaves in a large bowl or rimmed platter.
Whisk the sea salt, black pepper, and Aleppo pepper into the champagne vinegar, then slowly whisk in the olive oil until it has been absorbed into the vinaigrette.
Or, you can just cheat like me and whizzz it all together in a beaker with an immersion blender.
Pour the vinaigrette over the tomato, basil, and onion, then toss to mix well and set aside to rest for 15 minutes.
Mssr. Tourondel did not call for this next step, but I think it made sense.
Drain the tomato mixture well, then return to the bowl and top with the crumbled bacon and – if you have any – some of those freshly shaved kernels from roasted or grilled corn on the cob.
Top with a bit of the dressing, or pass the dressing on the side; either way, a lovely salad.
We thoroughly enjoyed ours, with grilled corn on the cob and nicely marinated veal chops topped with a bit of butter and blue cheese.