Eight ingredients, plus pantry staples. That's all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you've got a feast for family or friends. That's the philosophy behind our "8 & $20" feature. We hope it adds pleasure to your table.
“Why haven’t I had a BLT in so long?” I asked myself as I surveyed the bright colors of the dish before me. The bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich is an American classic, a simple can’t-miss summer repast that sometimes gets lost in the foodie shuffle these days. But reimagine that old standby as a crisp, refreshing salad, throw in a few new players, and it’s a whole new ballgame for the BLT.
The classic version was a postwar staple in the U.S., popularized in diners and easy to make at home; by the 1970s it had become a cultural icon of the American table. Traditionally, a BLT comprises romaine or iceberg lettuce, a thick slice of beefsteak tomato and crispy bacon on toasted bread dressed with mayonnaise. For this salad, I spruced up the classic combo with tangy feta cheese, just-ripe avocado and sweet corn, and tossed it all with a tart lemon vinaigrette.
But for a salad, soft butter lettuce (in the same family as bibb lettuce) is my preference, and some bitter arugula adds pizazz. I also opt for cherry tomatoes, the smaller, the better. The lemon vinaigrette adds a jolt of citrus in place of the heavier mayonnaise.
For the wine pairing, consider the variety of flavors before you. The tomatoes, arugula and lemon vinaigrette add acidity, the bacon imparts richness and umami sensation, the feta gives creaminess, the corn is sweet, and the avocado and lettuce act as a mellow base to draw everything together. A lively dry Verdicchio with faint peach and citrus notes on the nose and mineral undertones on the palate was a well-balanced match. Satisfying on its own, this wine from central Italy developed a velvety mouthfeel when paired with the salad’s acidity. White wines and rosés of similar, linear styles will do well here too, just take care to look for pairings that have minimal oak aging and don’t rely too much on overly ripe fruit notes.
Pair with a bright white wine like Umani Ronchi Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Casal di Serra 2015 (87 points, $19) from central Italy.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
Approximate food costs: $15
1. In a skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, to desired doneness. Set aside to cool and then crumble.
2. Combine olive oil, lemon, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk thoroughly (or use a blender and pulse until emulsified).
3. In a large bowl, combine greens, tomatoes, corn and avocado. Add in dressing and toss. Fold in bacon and feta. Serve immediately. Serves 2.