I have a confession to make. This recipe is blatant thievery from a restaurant in Manhattan that you will probably never go to (although it is very good). Patroon is one of those swanky, masculine, “steakhouses” that were all the rage in the booming ’90s. I happen to eat there quite a bit because it’s the nicest restaurant closest to our New York offices—so it’s a great place to take Important People to lunch. It’s not trendy or cool. It’s just good with good service, so it’s almost always full of Men in Suits and a few Ladies (and then there is me, but they are very nice to me; in fact I think they wish I would eat there more often, and I would if they would put more organic food on the menu!).
I tested this salad on my family a few weeks ago, and I knew it was a hit when Eve looked down at the salad bowl and thought for a moment and then said: “It’s a BLT!” with utter joy. There were no leftovers.
1 head organic iceberg lettuce (yes, I can get this at the supermarket!)
2 fresh tomatoes
8 pieces of bacon
1 cup homemade croutons*
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon Miracle Whip or mayo
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Pulp of ½ tomato
4 slices stale bread
¼ cup olive oil
Dash of salt
1. Cook the bacon until crispy.
2. Chop 1½ of the tomatoes, and squeeze the pulp of the other half of the second tomato into a bowl for the dressing.
3. Cook up the croutons by cubing the bread and dousing in olive oil and baking them or sautéing on top of the stove.
4. Clean the lettuce and sort into bowls—this recipe will make 4 largish salads.
5. Add the chopped tomato.
6. Crumble the bacon on top.
7. Mix the dressing ingredients together—emulsify with a fork or a whisk. Then add the dressing on top of the salad.
8. Top with croutons and serve.
You can pretend you are eating at Patroon by asking your family if they would “like fresh ground pepper with that” in a French accent.