Here’s what I’m actually cooking tonight, despite incredibly chilly weather that makes it a bit inappropriate. It’s also what I made the night we got back from Italy, which is why I haven’t yet found a homemade creamy dressing recipe I like, and am instead trying to use up a bottle of creamy parmesan dressing from Whole Foods.
Ahem. Anyway. Back in March I was in DC reporting a story and I had the pleasure of visiting with my friends Rachel and Jen. We ate dinner at Matchbox, and I basically bogarted the “Matchbox Chopped Salad,” a genius easy-to-eat BLT with pasta subbing in for bread. When I spotted a sale on grape tomatoes at Whole Foods in my post-flight stupor, I grabbed them and happily spent the next few days eating bowls of this salad. (See note at the end for instructions on making it last!)
Here’s the thing. I used a head of organic iceberg for this, and I really do think that crunch and ease-of-slicing is best. Tonight I have regular leaf lettuce or mesclun (from the 1st CSA box of the season!), but in general if you can find iceberg that is more green than white, it’s great here.
1 small head of good iceberg lettuce
1/4 red onion
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 lb. pasta, preferably a loose spiral or something (I used what I had on hand)
1/2-3/4 of a pound of good, thick-cut bacon (I used hickory-smoked, I think), cooked
Creamy dressing of your choice, to taste
I quartered the grape tomatoes and diced the red onion:
I cooked pasta and then rinsed it in cold water to cool it down, and added that in:
When you’re ready to serve, chop up the cooked bacon (I bake mine in a 400 degree oven until crispy, so it stays flat) and your lettuce, add them to the tomato mixture, and dress to taste. Hold back a few pieces of bacon to scatter on top. It doesn’t look like much but it is soooo good.
Note: To make this keep for a few lunches, as I did, only dress the portion you’re using the first night, using only that proportion of the lettuce and bacon. Store the pasta/tomato mixture in a tupperware and wrap the bacon and lettuce up separately; it takes 2 seconds to chop up some more lettuce and stir everything together with the dressing at lunch time.
(It really is cold out, though. Maybe I should do a absorption pasta with tomatoes and bacon and a salad on the side? Hmm. Oh! I think we got arugula from the CSA. I could stir that in at the end. But I’m craving the salad. Oh dear.)