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+ servings

TBL Panzanella

Tomato, bacon, lettuce, and French bread are must-have ingredients for a classic BLT...but when tossed with a tangy homemade vinaigrette, they also make a tasty salad. That's right, I've morphed my favorite sandwich into my favorite salad.
Originally, we called for letting the bread get stale overnight, but the truth is, stale bread can pick up a lot of funky flavors and, depending on humidity, it may not be dry enough. So now, we bake it.
This recipe first appeared in Season 6 of Good Eats.
ACTIVE TIME: 35 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 35 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Software

  • 12 ounces French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 8 slices bacon, chopped and cooked, fat reserved
  • 12 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces yellow pear or other heirloom tomato, halved or roughly chopped, if using heirlooms
  • 1 small head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil

Procedure

  • Heat the oven to 350ºF.
  • Spread the bread cubes on a half sheet pan and bake until dry but not browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Place the bread cubes and half of the bacon drippings in a large bowl and toss to combine.
  • Place the rest of the bacon drippings in a 10-inch saute pan set over high heat. When the fat is nice and hot, add the grape tomatoes, cut side down, and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  • Whisk the vinegar, salt, pepper, and oil in a large metal bowl to emulsify.
  • Invite the bacon, all the tomatoes, and the lettuce to the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Add the bread cubes and toss again.
  • Garnish with the mint and basil and serve.