September 1st! The first of the -ber (Brrr months)! Fortunately, our forecast here in SE Wisconsin is quite warm this week so I’m hoping those last green tomatoes on the vine will ripen before fall. Here is one more tomato recipe you might enjoy before tomato season is over! I’ve been saving this recipe to try ever since the April issue of Food and Wine arrived and it was just a matter of waiting until my own garden tomatoes were ready to use.
I’ve always been a big fan of French salad dressings and, when I order a salad at a restaurant, I usually ask for crumbled blue cheese on top. Not only is this salad dressed with homemade French dressing made from cherry tomatoes, but it also includes blue cheese blended with crème fraîche. This was my ‘Dream Salad’ come true! If you’re on the fence about blue cheese you might enjoy the milder taste that is created when it’s blended with crème fraîche. And, did I mention bacon?
This salad originated at the French Louis restaurant in Brooklyn where it’s called the Frenchie salad. The original recipe calls for pickled mustard seeds, which I omitted, but you can find the instructions to make them if you click on the Food and Wine link in the recipe. I also found that by heating a cast iron skillet in the oven and then adding the cherry tomatoes shortened the original roasting time in half.
If you’re enjoy French dressing, the classic French salad with ‘lardons’ or bacon, and also the American Wedge Salad, you will love this ingenious combination of all of them!
A September 1st footnote: We had one of the warmest days of the entire summer today. Mid 90s with very high humidity. My Grand Boys had a great time cooling off in Lake Michigan and finding some “sea glass” treasures today. Not a bad start to September!
Tip: If you have bountiful tomatoes or see some less-than-perfect tomatoes at the Farmers’ Market on sale, snap them up to roast and freeze to make this wonderful dressing all through fall and winter.
4 ounces cherry tomatoes
4 slices of thick-cut bacon (4 ounces ), cut into 1-inch dice or strips
Cook 4 slices of bacon using your preferred method, until crispy. Drain on paper toweling.
To make the dressing, place a small cast iron skillet in the oven and then preheat the oven to 450°.
Toss the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and carefully place them in the heated cast iron skillet. Roast for about 15 minutes, until the tomatoes have popped and are browned in spots. Transfer the tomatoes to a blender and add the remaining ingredients. Puree until smooth.
To make the salad blend the blue cheese with the crème fraîche in a small bowl until smooth. Dollop the mixture onto salad plates and spread around (or you can dollop it right on top of the salad, as I did). In a large bowl, toss the lettuce with half of the dressing and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the lettuce on top of the blue cheese mixture. Garnish with bacon and chives, if using. Serve the remaining dressing on the side.
The dressing can be refrigerated for 3 days.