Cherry tomatoes shine in this early-season BLT salad

Cherry tomatoes (shown) or cubes of beefsteak tomatoes can be the T in this BLT Salad. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS

Cherry tomatoes (shown) or cubes of beefsteak tomatoes can be the T in this BLT Salad. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS

In a month or two, I’ll probably be eating my weight in BLT sandwiches. They’re one of the best things about the season, and right now, when the temperatures and humidity are already soaring but summer produce hasn’t yet reached its peak, it’s hard to be patient. Instead of trying to make do with just-OK beefsteak tomatoes, I’m turning to always-sweet cherry tomatoes and turning that sandwich into a salad.

Most of the main ingredients are the same, of course: bacon, lettuce and tomato, plus a little lemon juice for the dressing and crumbled feta for the creamy element. (Not a BLT without mayonnaise? I feel you. Feel free to skip the cheese and put a tablespoon of mayo in the dressing.) Assembly is likewise just about as easy as a sandwich.

Most of your time will be taken up with cooking the bacon. I pile eight slices into the largest, deepest skillet I own. (It’s 12 inches across with 2-inch sides, but use what you have.) It’s totally fine to layer the bacon if you need; you’ll be moving it around as it cooks anyway. Place the bacon in the skillet cold, then set over medium-low heat. Starting the bacon cold and cooking it over relatively low heat will encourage the fat to render evenly and more completely, leaving you with crisp strips and plenty of savory, salty fat with which to make a dressing.

While the bacon cooks, slice up a big head of crunchy romaine, halve a pound of cherry tomatoes, and crumble the feta. The dressing is easy and quick once the bacon has come out of the pan: Whisk 1/4 cup of its fat with 3 tablespoons of lemon juice then season aggressively with black pepper and just a touch of salt. From there, all that’s left is to chop the bacon into large pieces and toss everything together.

And if you can get your hands on a good summer tomato or two, you can certainly make this salad with it — and then make a sandwich tomorrow.

BLT Salad


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