BLT Salad with Creamy Sweet Onion Dressing
This salad has all the elements of a traditional BLT sandwich, along with some elevated flavors like a creamy dressing made with sweet onion and toasty garlic croutons. It makes a nice side dish to serve with grilled steak or barbecue chicken.
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 medium head romaine lettuce (about 8 cups torn)
- 1 pint grape tomatoes (halved lengthwise)
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and cubed
For the croutons:
- 1-1/2 cups diced Italian bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- Pinch of salt
For the dressing:
- 2 to 4 tablespoons chopped sweet onion (see notes)
- 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons cream (or half-and-half)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Fry the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and drain all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Add the butter to the bacon fat and heat over medium heat. Add the smashed garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Remove the garlic from the pan, raise the heat to medium-high and add the bread cubes. Sprinkle with salt and toss to coat. Continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes, just until the bread has absorbed all of the butter mixture.
- Transfer the croutons to a baking sheet and bake until crisp and lightly golden, about 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- To make the dressing, place the chopped onion, garlic, mayonnaise, vegetable oil, cream, vinegar and water in the work bowl of a food processor or blender. Process until smooth and creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving bowl (makes about 3/4 cup).
- Toss the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, bacon, and croutons together in a salad bowl. Serve family-style and pass the dressing at the table.
If your onion is hot or has a bite, use the smaller quantity of 2 tablespoons (or even less) and add a little extra mayonnaise. If you have an exceptionally sweet onion, go with the full 4 tablespoons.