BLT Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

Two bits of news worth CELEBRATING:

  • Our own Red Wagon Farm 10U Softball team brought home the OGSO State Title! Way to go ladies! We are super proud of you and all that you have accomplished this year.  And…
  • Tomato Season is officially here and in full swing!  As you know, there is NOTHING quite like a fresh homegrown tomato.  Romas, canners, and slicers and red and yellow cherries fill our market shelves and can find a place in almost every meal at your table.

So… a Softball-Tomato-Celebration-Meal:

There are lots of fancy things to do with tomatoes but nothing makes them stand out quite like a salad—especially this BLT Salad with Buttermilk Dressing. It has bacon (who doesn’t love bacon?), roasted sweet corn, crunchy and cool cucumbers, eggs, avocados and all different kinds of tomatoes.  The confetti at this parade is a Buttermilk Dressing which supermarket folks call Ranch.  Homemade Buttermilk Dressing is so much better than the bottled variety and it contains no preservatives.  It doesn’t last long, so you need to use it up quickly, but, should you forgo the salad, you can simply slice tomatoes and cucumbers and dip them in.

Here’s how you make the Buttermilk Dressing. (Do this first and let the flavors come together in the fridge while you put your salad together.):

Borrow herbs from your neighbor’s patio garden with promises of buttermilk goodness to be shared. I used about a tablespoon each of parsley, dill, chives, and basil, but you can use anything.  Personally, I find the dill and chives pretty indispensable. (I guess if you don’t have the generous herb-growing neighbor, you might have to visit the grocery store.)

Wisk together the herbs with:

½ c. mayo (I used the low fat olive oil kind)
½ c. Greek yogurt or sour cream
1 C. buttermilk
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. salad vinegar (or white or cider or red wine)
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
¾ t. salt
½ t. sugar
Pepper to taste

If you like the dressing a little thicker, you can cut down on the buttermilk.

Put the dressing into a container and stick it in the fridge. Get ready to put the salad together.

For the BLT Salad:

…I feel a little silly telling you how to make a salad. Good salads follow more of a formula than a hard and fast recipe and whatever you like (especially if you use fresh ingredients) will be delicious.  What started here as just bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes ended with the addition of cucumbers, eggs, avocados, and roasted sweet corn.  And presentation is important. Lately, instead of putting salads in a bowl, I layer them on a big tray.  I can’t toss them, but they look beautiful and beauty adds a little to the revelry.

So, specifically, to make this BLT Salad, I first cooked the bacon until crispy, roasted 2 ears of corn on the grill, and hard-boiled 2 eggs.  You can find the specifics for roasting corn here, but really all you have to do is butter corn with salt and pepper, wrap it in foil, and throw it on the grill or even in the coals of a campfire.  Once it’s done, cool it briefly and cut it off the cob.

While the corn and bacon cool, spread washed lettuce on a platter.  Slice a couple of roma tomatoes and maybe a round canner.  Halve a couple handfuls of red and yellow grape tomatoes and Juliette’s. (If you’ve never had a yellow tomato they are sweet and low acid.  Juliette’s are meaty mini-romas.  All are delicious and beautiful. ) Spread the tomatoes on the lettuce and top with a chopped cucumber.  No need to peel or seed.

Chop the bacon, hardboiled eggs, and avocado.  Layer onto the salad. Top with roasted corn cut from the cobs.  The corn gives the salad a sweet element and brings the flavors of summer together.

I served this salad with blue cheese on the side, because, frankly, I am the only person here who likes blue cheese.  I also grilled some salmon and flat bread to add another element to the meal.  Everyone drizzled their own Homemade Buttermilk Dressing on the salads that they plated themselves.

BLT Salad with Buttermilk Dressing turned out to be a great celebration meal.  Here’s to having things to celebrate.

See You at the Market.