Grilled Romaine, Bacon, and Blue Cheese Salad with Roasted Tomatoes
I spent the better part of last week in New Orleans for RubyConf. I have to confess, before I left for the Crescent City I had little hope of a great time. My memory of the place was darkened by the broken windows and street smells I'd experienced a few years back when Vance and I went for a wedding, not to mention the restaurant we ended up at, where mice flitted openly across the floor, scavenging for scraps.
I boarded the flight to NOLA this time with a single culinary goal: eat a pile of beignets from Cafe Du Monde. I came home having "accomplished" much more than a check-in at the legendary coffee stand — we ate like kings at some brilliant restaurants in the French Quarter (no mice in sight).
Emeril's Delmonico served up a memorable Banana's Foster; the "Trotter Jennings" at Cochon (Smooth Ambler Vodka, Adrian Adami Prosecco, St. Germain, lemon juice) was a happy punch in the face; Cafe Amelie had a patio that could have come straight out of a Renoir painting; Mr. B's had a Crawfish "ravioli" that was too good to stop me from over-eating; and naturally there are a few restaurants whose names I've already forgotten but whose fried goat cheese salad is the stuff of dreams.
By the time I stepped off the plane at RDU Sunday night, I was ready for a week of straight up salad. This recipe is one I swore I'd try to repeat after the first time I tried it at Fifi's (a now-defunct Orlando restaurant that was a real neighborhood gem while it lasted). Two things that normally don't go together — lettuce and a hot grill — marry up in this unconventional blue cheese salad. Try it alongside a bowl of soup or with some crusty bread.
Grilled Romaine, Bacon, and Blue Cheese Salad with Roasted TomatoesThis mayonnaise-free blue cheese dressing is lighter and tangier than the traditional version, which makes it a great appetizer. Serves 2 as a light lunch or 4 as a first course.
- 2 heads romaine lettuce, rinsed and left whole
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, mixed colors if you can find them
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus additional for greasing the grill
- 3 thick slices smoked organic bacon, cut into lardons
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1/2 scallion
- 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese, divided
- Salt and pepper, to taste