It's summertime and I like salads when it is hot. Actually, we eat salads a lot in our house, year round. Side salads, mostly.
But the summer is when we eat more entrée salads. Salads that fill the whole plate. Salads that have something other than our usual tomato, red bell pepper, and feta toppings.
Spinach Salad with Egg and Bacon. Chicken Caesar Salad. Candied Pecan and Dried Cranberry Salad. Greek Green Salad.
This is the time of plates full of salad, with all sorts of toppings.
Bacon, Beef & Bleu Salad
This is not a special gluten-free recipe. This is just a salad that I really love and it just happens to be gluten-free too!
And everyone in our house goes ballistic for it!
It all happened rather by accident, when I walked into the kitchen one recent evening.
"Is that beef?"
I found that my husband had started marinating some beef. Eye of Round steaks to be precise. They had been really thick, so he had sliced them in half to make them thinner and they were marinating that way.
"What are you planning to do with it?"
"I'm not sure yet."
"Grill? Were you going to grill it?"
"Great! Let's do that. Then what? Were you thinking anything else?"
"Just a salad."
"Really? What kind of salad?"
"Just a normal side salad."
"Really? Hmmm.... Well, instead of that, why don't we make that salad that has sliced beef and bleu cheese dressing on it? Everyone loves that!"
"Hey, we've got everything we need for it: bacon, bleu cheese, potatoes, and you've already started the beef."
And we were off and running.
We always have romaine lettuce in our house. It is, by far and wide, our favorite lettuce. Butter lettuce is too soft. Iceberg is too pale. Sometimes we have baby mixed greens or spinach, but we always have romaine. This is perfect as a base for this salad.
We almost always have some bacon in the freezer. We pulled that out and popped it into the microwave. A year or two ago, I bought a microwave bacon tray. It has ridges that the bacon slices lie on, and a groove down the middle leading to a tray at the bottom. The groove sends the liquid fat down to collect in the tray, and the bacon cooks on top of the ridges and out of the fat. This is now my favorite way to make bacon. Just be sure to cover the bacon with a paper towel before cooking!
After the bacon was cooked and crispy, I further drained it on paper towels and then cut it into small bits, ready for the top of the salad.
Potatoes. Did I mention the potatoes? I'm not usually a fan of potatoes on salads, but I have grown to love them on this salad. That is, if they are cooked well enough. I like them slightly brown and crunchy on the outside and well done all the way through. That's why I cut them into very thin wedges. I like the shape of the wedges, but the thinness is necessary if you want to get them done enough through the middle. I dusted them lightly with sea salt and baked them for 20-25 minutes at 425 degrees.
These turned out perfect. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of them after they were done. They were beautiful!
And actually, we didn't have bleu cheese. We had gorgonzola. Close enough. Yummy enough. Either works just fine for this homemade dressing.
To make the dressing, I just winged it, using a couple of heaping tablespoons of sour cream, a splash of milk, a bit of cider vinegar, a small wedge of gorgonzola, salt and pepper. I would have used non-fat greek yogurt too, if I had had any at the time. But I didn't. I put it all into the food processor and it was done in a minute or two. I added a touch more vinegar and milk, until the tanginess and consistency were just right. Thick, but not too thick. If you don't have a food processor, a blender works just fine too. Or you can mash the cheese sufficiently small with a fork and just mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Still easy. Oh, and delicious!
Then I laid everything out on the plates: first the romaine, then potatoes, bacon, beef, and finally the gorgonzola dressing. Adjust the ratio of each according to your own liking.
This was our Bacon, Beef & Bleu Salad! Everyone in our house fawns over this salad. It is so tasty and so flavorful! It really is a meal unto itself. And it naturally doesn't have any gluten in it. Fabulous!