Monday, 14 April 2014
Recipe: Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato & Avocado Chopped Salad with Homemade Skinny Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Something I discovered talking to people when I was living over there, the way us Brits make our salads baffle a lot of Americans. What it really comes down to is tearing versus chopping. English salads, on the whole tend to consist of leaves that have been artfully torn but are still quite large, and Americans chop their leaves, which has the wonderful by-product of everything in your bowl being the same size so you get good balanced bites of everything. Even bagged lettuce leaves have this subtle difference, between the bags I buy here and I used to buy at Trader Joe’s. Needless to say, I feel the American way ought to be adopted by all.
Now, I know BLT salad bowls are something that is rather done on the internet a lot, but I felt that I just had to share my version with you all because I have found it has been a really filling lunch recently. I add cubes of ripe avocado (avocado and bacon are a match made in heaven), I cook my bacon the crispy American way, and I’ve formulated my own version of the classic American Buttermilk Ranch Dressing to be lighter but still totally delicious. Another thing that is awesome about the buttermilk dressing? Leftover buttermilk. A hazard of listening to almost nothing but Country music all day is I never pass up the excuse to bake Southern Biscuits.
I find using a gem lettuce per person works well. I know it seems really obvious, but to create the optimum chopped salad I find the best way is to split it down the middle lengthways then cut each half into centimetre slices. Don’t cut all the way to the bottom as it is just white.
All the measurements here are to serve one person, but the ranch dressing recipe makes extra, so you have enough to either use over the next few days, use the same measurements to make a whole load of salads, or to dip crudities into for a mid afternoon snack.
This hearty chopped salad is based on the classic BLT, with added chunks of creamy may and a lighter buttermilk ranch dressing.
For The Dressing
- 2 tbsp Light Mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp Total 0% Greek Yogurt
- 1 Very Small Garlic Clove, crushed
- Large Pinch Sea Salt
- 2 tsp Finely Chopped Chives
- 2 1/2 tbsp Low Fat Buttermilk
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
For the Salad
- 1 Gem Lettuce, chopped
- 1 Small, Ripe Avocado, cubed
- 2 Rashers Streaky Bacon
- Large Handful Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
- Grill the bacon on high and until it is American crispy. I like to cook it suspended on a suspended grill so the fat can drip away into a dish below, and I also like the daub the bacon slices with kitchen towel when they come out of the oven to remove more excess fat. Let the rashers go cold.
- To make the Buttermilk Ranch, beat together the mayonnaise, yogurt, crushed garlic, a large pinch of sea salt and chives in a small bowl.
- Beat in the buttermilk a spoonful at a time (you may like your ranch thicker than I like mine, and the buttermilk thins it), and add a good few turns of freshly ground black pepper. Check the seasoning and refrigerate while you prepare the salad.
- Toss together the lettuce, tomatoes and avocado pieces in a salad bowl, top with drizzles of ranch and crispy bacon pieces. I make my life easier by just cutting the cold cooked bacon with scissors.