Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Bistro Salad


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!



Bistro Salad

Adapted from Food and Wine

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.


DRESSING

4 ounces cherry tomatoes
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
Kosher salt
Pepper

SALAD

4 slices of thick-cut bacon (4 ounces ), cut into 1-inch dice or strips
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (1/3 cup)
1/4 cup crème fraîche
4 heads of Little Gem or baby romaine lettuce (1 pound), washed and leaves separated
Kosher salt
Pepper
(I added a few additional halved cherry tomatoes to the salad)

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.

76 comments:

  1. Look at the beautiful sea glass. How fun is that!! The salad is beautiful, too. Still HOT here. Ready for some cooler weather but not the cold kind yet. Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend.

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    1. Thank you, Julie! Hope you have a great weekend too!

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  2. looks great and what great treasures they found

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  3. I have always liked French dressing--even Kraft's--but haven't had it in a very long time. You can bet this will be on a salad before tomatoes are done for the year. It saddens me to think we have only three more weeks of summer and fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.!!

    Best,
    Bonnie

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    1. Me too, it's always been a favorite. Lately, I've been liking Brianna's Zesty Tomato dressing (it has a big, red tomato on the front of the bottle). Good stuff if you don't have time to make your own. Thank you, Bonnie!

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  4. Pretty sea glass, bet the kids had a blast! Happy September Susan, enjoy the last of those tomatoes:@)

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    1. Thank you, Lynn! They did :) Have a great weekend!

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  5. I love the tomato dressing! The salad looks scrumptious, Susan.

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  6. We just got a bunch of tomatoes from our CSA, so this will be perfect to use them up! Such a lovely summer salad!

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    1. It's a great dressing, Joanne, and I really loved the blue cheese/creme fraiche on it too. Thank you!

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  7. It was my turn last night to write a long comment and when I clicked published..my connection had disappeared..on my MINI..

    so good morning!

    Love the idea of roasting the tomatoes..you'll never guess what I did this Sat?
    I seasoned all my cast iron..I gave away my biggest and heaviest ribbed pan to Fred.I have trouble lifting it truth be told so ..weighs a ton.
    The boys are so sweet nana and what a beautiful lake..a friend in Fl..who lives in Ontario collects sea glass..so when I find some they are hers..

    it was sweltering here too yesterday..boys had half day so we took advantage of that and did the birthday lunch/shopping w/ Oli..

    so sweet ♥

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    1. I hate when that happens :) I know what you mean about the cast iron pans. I'll bet the ribbed one was even heavier than a regular one the same size! Hot here again today. So humid too. It never fails as soon as school begins.

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    2. my teacher daughter will attest to that..no air conditioning in her school...

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    3. I remember those days well when I was teaching too and there was never any air circulation in the classroom. I used to bring a fan :) Poor kids and poor teachers!

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  8. Oh Susan, this salad sounds delicious. I'm a fan of blue chees and a good French dressing. I will be trying this very soon.

    Carolyn

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  9. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who still enjoys a good French dressing. And how you added blue cheese is even better! Can't wait to try this salad Susan!! Thanks another creative salad to enjoy!

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    1. It's a great combination, Roz. I hope you enjoy it :)

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  10. French dressing works for me, but I've never had it with blue cheese, sounds great! Love it and Lake Michigan too! Looks like your guys had a blast!

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    1. If you like blue cheese you'll love the combo, Pam. The last few days of summer are so precious here in the Midwest as you well know :)

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  11. This salad looks great and so full of fresh harvest goodies! I love those olive drizzled tomatoes too!

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    1. Thank you, Pamela! I don't even want to think about not having tomatoes anymore. We've really enjoyed them this year!

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  12. What a gorgeous salad and full of all good things, including bacon. We're big blue cheese fans and love it on a salad. And your grandchildren's sea glass - what a find.
    Sam

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    1. You would love this salad then, Sam! I remember loving to find sea glass along the shores of Lake Michigan when I was a kid too. Fun memories! Thanks, Sam ;)

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  13. I love that treasure! I mean the boys, silly! My family used to go to Lake Michigan many years ago. Great memories. I love this salad. Perfect way to highlight the tomatoes!

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    1. I remember you used to live in Illinois, Abbe. It's a wonderful thing to live near one of the Great Lakes - except for the humidity in the summer. I have to admit the Colorado climate is so much more free of pesky insects too :) Thanks for stopping!

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  14. Hi Susan, love your tomato dressing and that salad has my name written all over it, love bacon and blue cheese in salads. Sounds like your grand boys had a wonderful time.

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    1. Thank you, Cheri! It was a hot day but they knew exactly how to enjoy it :)

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  15. how lovely pics with children , they are so happy and seem enjoy at the sea ! I love fresh salads, can't wait to try this tasty recipe ! Have a nice weekend my dear Susan, a warm hug from Trieste

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    1. Thank you, Chiara! I hope you enjoy it :) Hugs from Wisconsin!

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  16. It's been the hottest it's been all year here this week and so humid! I am looking forward to fall. We are also still getting tomatoes and other late summer vegetables/fruit, so it's not quite time yet. Your salad looks delicious, especially the dressing.

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    1. We're having the same weather, Amy, and I just picked 5 more big ripe tomatoes this afternoon. Thank you!

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  17. I am pondering the combination of blue cheese and sour cream and if I could substitute sour cream for the cf...no way am I going to attempt to spell it. This salad sounds totally delicious to me.

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    1. Ha-ha :) I just copy and paste, Vee! I think sour cream would work just fine. I hope you try it, I thought it was wonderful.

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  18. Thank you for this! I've been assigned to bring a salad for an upcoming dinner party and this will be perfect. The dressing sounds divine.

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  19. This is my favorite kind of salad, Susan, especially when the tomatoes are home grown. Fall arrived here in Oregon almost overnight and I think I'm going to have some green tomatoes too. I've enjoyed more than my share of BLT's the past few weeks so salad will be on the menu for awhile. Can't wait to try your dressing recipe.

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    1. This was so delicious, Cathy, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! We've had such a warm week but the weather man says we're in for a change.

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  20. What a beautiful salad Susan. Love the dressing. I just looked at your pasta dish and love it too! Hope it is cooling a little bit where you are. It usually happens the day after Labor Day here. I spent a lot of time on Lake Michigan growing up, but on the Michigan side.

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    1. So we were lake neighbors :) Cooler weather is almost a certainly soon. Fingers crossed we have a nice fall. Thanks, Penny!

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  21. That vinaigrette sounds familiar, Susan. Wonder if I've made it for something or other? Roasting tomatoes brings out so much flavor. It's a beautiful salad, with ingredients I love.
    Spent every summer of my young life on the Great Lakes and, of course, Lake Michigan....Petoskey side. Lots of stones and smooth glass there. Wonderful memories. I still have lots of family in Michigan.

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    1. I loved every inch of this salad, Barbara! Knowing your culinary knowledge I'll wouldn't be surprised if you've made it. Summers are great here but I'd rather be where you are in the winter ;)

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  22. Looks like an amazing salad. I'm crazy for salads with blue cheese too and seem to get on crazes with them (like the past two weeks!). I didn't know you were from Wisconsin. I grew up in West Bend :)

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    1. Oh my gosh, Chris, what a small world! My husband's mother was born in West Bend. But she just turned 94 :)

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  23. Gorgeous glass, boys and salad :-)

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  24. My husband and son are big fans of blue cheese! It is a beautiful salad with great colors Susan!

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    1. Thank you, Katerina! Your husband and son would enjoy this.

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  25. Oh, any salad with bacon is good in my books :) This looks so good!

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  26. Love the salad and the dressing. Our tomatoes had a second burst of production so we have tomatoes for another few weeks I hope. I need this salad - bacon and all :) Love blue cheese - love everything about it. Your grand-boys are adorable and they did really well finding sea glass!

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    1. Thank you, Tricia! I just picked another six tomatoes today and hoping that we keep the sunshine and warmth going to harvest the rest. They did have a little help finding the sea glass :)

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  27. Beautiful salad! I think sautéing the tomatoes does so much for the flavor -- it really concentrates it, doesn't it?
    I would love to try it since summer is really lingering here. Hot and humid, it feels more like August than September.

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    1. So true, Deana, the roasting brings out such great flavor. We've had the warmest weather of the entire summer this past week. I'm sure we'll be shocked back into Wisconsin reality very soon.

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  28. This is just the sort of lunch I like. Delicious.
    Amalia
    xo

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  29. What a beautiful salad Susan, I especially like the roasted tomatoes on the cast iron...indeed the hot days here in Los Angeles are to stay for a while.
    Have a wonderful rest of the week :)

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    1. Thank you, Juliana! You live in a beautiful part of the country - especially in winter ;)

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  30. Hi Susan! That salad looks delicious-love french dressing and blue cheese. Lake Michigan looks refreshing-one of my favorite places. Enjoy :)
    -Lynn

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    1. Lynn! Hello :) It is one of the wonderful things about Milwaukee. The sailboat on the lake in summer are a beautiful thing to see.

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  31. I'm excited to try this beautiful salad Susan. It's so fresh and the dressing sounds amazing. Thanks for posting it and I'm glad you had a lovely holiday.

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    1. Thank you, Renee! I'm making again this weekend for guests :)

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  32. Sounds fabulous! Still tons of tomatoes in the garden and enjoying every one of them! I have never tried making my own French dressing! Sounds wonderful.

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  33. My son still has tomatoes growing in his garden--hopefully he'll share some more with me so I can make this delcious salad. Your grandboys are getting big, Susan, as are mine! It looks like they will have happy summer memories from 2015.

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  34. This looks great, lovely colours and the dressing sounds amazing!

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  35. wow Sue your recipes always amaze us! This salad sounds wonderful and the dressing too! Your photos blow us away to say the least! Wish we were neighbors- josh we would have so much fun in the kitchen together ! Have a great week. xo Anna and Liz

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  36. What a lovely salad! Love how you have prepared the tomatoes. They look like the shining star of this dish!

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  37. I just wanted to stop in and let you know your Bistro Salad was a HUGE hit at my dinner party last night. Love that Creme Fraiche/Blue Cheese combo. Everyone was asking for the recipe. Thanks for a great salad.

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    1. So happy to hear that it was well-liked, Lea Ann, and thanks so much for letting me know!

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