Anyway, I thought it was about time I posted a recipe. We made this a few weeks back with one of the first summer tomatoes (from the farmer's market--we killed our tomato plant). We also happened to have an abundance of blue cheese leftover from another meal. We always have basil (out back), crusty bread, and our old standby, Sashay Acres bacon, on hand. A meal was born.
Actually, we ate this as an appetizer, but it would be more than enough as an entree. I only stacked our salads a few tomato slices high, but next time I'd go even lower--one or two slices only--for easier eating. Next time I also think I'll splurge on the fancy French gray shallots at the farmer's market for more intense shallot flavor in the dressing.
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Basil
very slightly adapted from Gourmet via Epicurious
serves 2 (easily multiplied)
2 slices crusty white bread, like sourdough
4 slices bacon (depending on how porky you like your veggies)
olive oil (if needed)
1/4 c finely chopped shallot
3 tbsp Sherry vinegar
2-3 assorted medium heirloom tomatoes, cut 1/4- to 1/3-inch thick
15 small fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 oz blue cheese, at room temperature, crumbled
Cook bacon in (cast iron, preferably) pan until crisp, and remove to paper towels. Leave bacon drippings in pan.
In the same pan, toast bread on both sides in bacon drippings over medium heat. If you don't like your bread bacon-y, pour off drippings into a heatproof bowl and reserve. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in the same pan and toast bread.
Using remaining bacon drippings (pour them back in the pan if you poured them off), plus a couple tablespoons olive oil if the pan is getting dry, cook shallots over medium heat, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add vinegar and simmer, whisking, until emulsified, about 1 minute. Season dressing with salt and pepper and keep warm.
Crumble bacon. Arrange bread on plates and divide tomato slices among them, stacking slices and sprinkling some basil and bacon between slices. Sprinkle cheese and remaining basil and bacon over and around tomatoes. Spoon some of warm bacon dressing over and around tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.