Monday, March 26, 2012

Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Salad with Thousand Island Dressing

Ole Sweetie-Pi and I went out to dinner a while back and one of the salad offerings was a wedge of lettuce with bacon and tomato with a choice of dressing.  It was such a delicious and simple idea that I decided to recreate it at home.

My salad wedge was bathed in bleu cheese, but Ole Sweetie-Pi fell back on his favorite, thousand island.  I've only had the bottled stuff, and while it's okay, I'm pretty happy to pass it up for something more piquant.  However, there's no way on this planet he's going to even try bleu cheese dressing (he can't stand that gorgeous aroma that draws me in), so I begrudgingly went with the thousand island.

Man, there is absolutely no comparison!  This dressing is full bodied, tangy, and just plain delicious.  I didn't know what I was missing.  Every now and again I make a  cooking discovery that makes me sit up and take notice and this was one of those times.

The salad part is easy enough.  Just a head of lettuce, outer leaves discarded if they look iffy, and then the head cut into half (cut from top to bottom, not across the middle) and then at least into half again, depending on the size of the head.  I think I ended up cutting my head of lettuce into six wedges.  Rinse under cold running water, and set on paper towels to absorb the moisture. 

Fry up several pieces of bacon; if you like a lot of bacon, figure two slices each.  After thoroughly cooked,  set on a couple of paper towels to drain off the excess fat, and then crumble and set aside. 

Dice up some firm ripe tomatoes.  I removed the pulp and seeds from mine because I don't like my salad all mushy, but it's personal choice.  If it doesn't offend you, there's no harm in leaving it.

Put your salad wedge on a plate, pour a generous amount of dressing over the wedge.  Sprinkle with reserved bacon crumbles and diced tomatoes. 

Thousand Island Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chili sauce **
1/4 cup minced pimiento-stuffed green olives
1 tablespoon minced green bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 hard-cooked, boiled egg, peeled and then finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce (like Tabasco)

Mix all ingredients, cover, and chill several hours.

**Too late I discovered I did not have any chili sauce in the house (it's something we rarely use) so I had to stop and make my own.  I wrote down the ingredients on a scrap piece of a paper but now that I want to find the link to credit the recipe, I can't find it, so my apologies to the originator.  Let me give you what I have, and my assurances that this chili sauce is good!  Man, it would make a terrific base for shrimp cocktail sauce. 

No picture, alas, as it was just a red sauce in a pan.

Chili Sauce

1 32-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1 garlic clove, diced
1 small red pepper, seeds removed, diced**
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

Add all in a medium sized sauce pan.  Boil 30 minutes.  Best after its allowed to sit and ripen for a bit, I think.

**The recipe just said red pepper, and I'm assuming it was a sweet red bell pepper, which I used, not a red chili pepper.