This is a great salad by Thomas Keller. There are  several steps, but the end result is amazing and it’s such a great dish for summer. You can find more recipes like this one in Thomas Keller’s cookbook  AD HOC AT HOME.

Iceberg lettuce slices (with blue cheese dressing, oven-roasted tomatoes, bacon, and brioche croutons)

8 ounces applewood-smoked slab bacon (see Sources, page 346)

4 heads baby iceberg lettuce (about 9 ounces each)

Extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 pieces Oven-Roasted Tomatoes (page 262)

Brioche Croutons (page 273)

Flat-leaf parsley leaves

Blue Cheese Dressing (page 182)

We’ve added the intense flavors of oven-dried tomatoes, bacon, and blue cheese to this classic American salad and introduced additional crunch with elegant brioche croutons. Try to find baby heads of iceberg, which are tender and sweet.

Cut the bacon into lardons about 1 inch long and H inch thick (see

photos below). Pour 2 tablespoons water into a medium saucepan and

set over medium heat (the water will keep the bacon from crisping as

the fat begins to render). Add the bacon, reduce the heat to medium-

low, and let the bacon render its fat for 30 minutes. The bacon will color

but not become completely crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Remove the outer couple of leaves from each head of lettuce (reserve

for another use if desired). Cut out the core end and discard. Cut each

head crosswise into 3 rounds. Place the slices on a tray, drizzle with

olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Arrange the lettuce on a platter. Tuck the tomatoes in and around the

lettuce. Sprinkle with the croutons, lardons, and parsley. Spoon some

of the dressing over the salad and serve the remaining dressing on the

side. SERVES 6

oven-roasted tomatoes

12 plum tomatoes

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 thyme sprigs

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Roasting tomatoes slowly cooks out the moisture and intensifies their flavor. The tomatoes bring a sweet, tangy flavor to meat, fish, and vegetables. Put them in sandwiches, or finely chop them and use them to flavor vinaigrettes. Pencil asparagus are great with a roasted tomato vinaigrette, and so is fresh mozzarella. They’re so versatile you can use them as garnish for a rich meat, such as lamb, or in a salad.

Preheat the oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

To peel the tomatoes, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare an

ice bath. With a paring knife, cut out the core of each tomato. Score an

X on the bottom of each tomato, extending the cuts about two-thirds of

the way up the tomato.

Drop the tomatoes into the water and simmer just until the skins are

starting to pull away from the tomato. This may take only a few seconds,

depending on the ripeness of the tomato. With a skimmer or slotted

spoon, immediately transfer the tomatoes to the ice bath. Remove them

as soon as they are cold and peel them.

Cut the tomatoes lengthwise in half and place cut side up on the lined

baking sheet. Drizzle a little olive oil over each one, letting it run into

any crevices. Scatter the thyme sprigs over the top and season with salt

and pepper.

Put in the oven and cook for 5 to 6 hours, until the tomatoes have

shrunk but are still moist. Let cool on the baking sheet.

Transfer the tomatoes to a storage container and pour any oil from

the pan over them. The tomatoes can be refrigerated for up to a week.



brioche croutons

2 cups 1/4- to 1/2-inch crustless cubes Brioche (opposite)

These brioche croutons are best served warm, but they can be made ahead and rewarmed before serving.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spread the brioche cubes in a single layer on the parchment-lined

pan. Toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Turn the croutons and toast for

another 5 minutes, or until a rich golden brown. The croutons can be

cooled and then stored in an airtight container for up to a week; rewarm

them in a low oven before serving. MAKES ABOUT 1¾ CUPS

buttermilk dressing

1 cup Aioli (page 333)

1/4 to 1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup crème fraîche

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

3/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon minced chives

1 teaspoon minced fl at-leaf parsley

1 teaspoon minced mint

Kosher salt

Put the aioli in a large bowl. Whisk in G cup buttermilk and all the

remaining ingredients. The dressing can be used now or refrigerated.

Before serving, lift up a spoonful of dressing and pour it back into the

bowl—it should run freely. If it is too thick, add additional buttermilk

as necessary. Refrigerate in a covered container for up to 1 week (the

herbs may darken after 1 day).


BLUE CHEESE DRESSING Stir about 11/2 cups crumbled blue cheese

(about 8 ounces), preferably Pt. Reyes (see Sources, page 346), into the

buttermilk dressing. Refrigerate in a covered container for up to 1 week.

Excerpted from AD HOC AT HOME by Thomas Keller (Artisan Books).

Copyright 2009. Deborah Jones photographer.