This is a really simple recipe to throw together. You could even cut it down and make it for one person because the leftovers don't keep. Soggy bread problems, ya know? Speaking of bread problems, this is the perfect salad for day old bread. You want the bread to be a bit dried out so it takes its time absorbing the dressing.
This recipe can really be adjusted to your own tastes as well. Add as much or as little arugula or basil as you want. Play around with it a little bit. Trust your instincts! Add more tomatoes if you want. It is your salad after all. This is just a good foundation to build off of.
I love me some roasted tomatoes. They get all jammy and soft. Delicious. This recipe creates that feeling without having to turn the oven on. The tomatoes get fried up quickly in some bacon fat and they leave behind all their juices in the pan that will make up the bacon dressing eventually.
Surprisingly the bacon isn't over powering as you might expect. It gives just the right amount of salty bacon flavor and crunchy topping.The vinegar and mustard add nice balance to the dressing. You could easily use green onions or shallots in replace of the leeks. I just happened to have bought leeks the day before at the farmers market.
Overall this is a really easy and beautiful salad to throw together for friends. The crispy bread with the juicy tomatoes and rich bacon and spicy arugula go so well together. Try adding some mint for a little extra freshness with the basil. More tomato recipes to come this month! Enjoy!
1 french baguette or french round, cut into 1 inch cubes
6 slices smoke bacon (3 ounces), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 1/2 pints tomatoes, halved
1 leek, sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
2 handfuls of arugula
Handful of basil
Buratta, mozzarella or goat cheese to serve
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Spread bread in one even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast bread in oven for 15 minutes or until the bread is crispy, but not browned. Meanwhile, fry bacon over medium heat, until crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 tablespoon of bacon grease. Add the halved tomatoes, cut side down to the pan, cooking over medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until softened and slightly caramelized. Remove the tomatoes, using a slotted spoon again, and set aside.
- Over medium heat, add a tablespoon of oil to the pan and saute the leeks until softened and lightly golden, about 5-7 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, remaining olive oil and dijon mustard. Whisk it all to combine (it will be thick and clumpy, that is okay). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, add half the bread and top with half the tomatoes, arugula, basil and dressing. On top of that add the remaining bread and vegetables and dressing and toss to combine. Serve immediately and garnish with some bacon, buratta (or cheese of your choice) and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.