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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

BLT Panzanella Cooking View
Annie's Original

Undoubtedly one of the very best things about the latter half of summer is the abundance of fresh tomatoes.  Bonus flavor points if they come directly from the garden or farmers market.  Certainly a ripe summer tomato is a thing of beauty all on its own, but when the bounty presents itself, they are just begging to be used in all sorts of dishes.  I started thinking about different ways to use tomatoes that would highlight their fresh from the garden flavor.  Inspired by the classic sandwich combo, I dreamed up this BLT panzanella.

Essentially, this is a deconstructed BLT in salad form.  It’s got all the components of the sandwich we know and love but is served in a way that makes it ideal for summer cook outs, pitch-ins, etc.  Even as one of the minority that isn’t madly in love with bacon everything, I am pretty head-over-heels for this dish.  It’s guaranteed to be a hit at your next get together.  If you are serving more than just a few, you’ll definitely want to double the recipe.  Trust me!

Note: This recipe was developed as part of my ongoing contribution to the Go Bold with Butter blog.  Head over to see my posts as well as more great recipes from the other awesome bloggers involved with the project!

BLT Panzanella
Yield: about 4 servings

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 1 small baguette
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 6 oz. bacon
  • 2-3 medium vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 1 heart of Romaine lettuce, rinsed, dried, and chopped (about 3-4 cups)
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

For the dressing:

  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated or minced
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 3 tbsp. low-fat Greek yogurt or mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp. buttermilk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Cooking View

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 450˚ F.  Remove the crust from the baguette and cut into cubes, about ¾- to 1-inches.  Combine the cubed bread in a bowl with the melted butter and toss to coat evenly.  Spread in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Bake about 6 minutes, tossing once or twice during baking, until the bread cubes are golden brown and somewhat crisp.  Set aside to cool.  Meanwhile, heat a large skillet to medium-high and cook the bacon until crisp but not burned.  Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and let cool.

  • In a large salad bowl, combine the toasted bread cubes, tomatoes, lettuce, and Parmesan.  Crumble the cooked bacon over the top.  Toss gently to combine.  In a jar or small lidded container, combine the garlic, lemon juice, Greek yogurt, and buttermilk.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Portion the salad into serving bowls and drizzle each serving very lightly with the dressing.

  • *Make ahead instructions: For best results, this dish should be assembled just before it is served.  However, all of the components can be prepped in advance so that all that is required before serving is a bit of mixing.

  • Paige

    This looks delicious! I think this is what I’ll be having for dinner tonight :)

  • http://www.thelittlebitchinkitchen.com/ Kristen @ The LBK

    So simple but SO good!
    Looks devine… you capture those beautiful tomatoes so beautifully!

  • TobyD

    Beautiful! Cannot wait to try this with my family!!

  • http://anniescitykitchen.com/ Annie @ Annie’s City Kitchen

    I’ve been on a BLT kick this summer and now I can feel slliiightly less guilty about eating them in salad form. Ok and maybe I’ll add some avocado because I can’t leave well enough alone.

    This looks DELICIOUS.

  • Corianne

    Oh wow! I’m SO excited to try this! This sounds amazing!!!!

  • http://www.bakedbyrachel.com/ Baked by Rachel

    I’ve made something similar in the past. So good and yours looks great!

  • http://perpetuallycaroline.blogspot.com/ Caroline L.

    Oh yum, I can practically taste the bacon! This looks delicious!

  • http://www.feelingfoodish.com/ Marie B

    Love it!!

  • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

    This is seriously perfect.

  • http://twitter.com/MeatballsM Meatballs&Milkshakes

    Yum! I love the idea of adding bacon to a traditional panzanella!

  • http://www.jenandali.com/ Jen

    This sounds and looks so good! I’m became obsessed with BLTs last summer, and now that our tomatoes are finally growing in our garden (delayed thanks to the hot weather here in Indiana!), I’ll have to try this recipe. Thanks!

  • Lynna Huynh

    Yummy~ I love BLT sandwiches and I`ll love this!

  • Coby

    Okay, we just got back from a 10-day road-trip visiting family who kept feeding us and FEEDING us…needless to say, we’re “detoxing” with salads and loads of produce – the ingredients for this are going on my grocery list. Looks wonderful!

  • http://atthepatisserie.wordpress.com/ Ann P.

    drooling. what an awesome way to eat BLT!

  • Jen

    This was a great summer dinner…found the salt on the cubes of bread to be too much with the bacon and cheese, but maybe I just had too heavy a hand with it. Thanks for sharing this! It’s a keeper for our family.

  • annieseats

    Ours are getting ready to produce too. So excited!

  • Jessica Smith

    Love this combo and the dressing looks amazing! Thanks for the great idea, Annie!

  • sweetsugarbelle

    I’ve been so busy this summer and fallen a little behind on my Annie Time. But I’ve finally got a moment to relax and take it all in and it’s wonderful as usual! Great ideas and the photos just get better and better!

  • Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes

    Mmmmm have been wanting to try panzanella for a while now. This one looks like a winner :)

  • http://www.leblogdepouce.com/ Le blog de Pouce

    Thanks to wikipedia, I have learned about BLT sandwiches.
    Your version looks so savoury.
    Thanks for sharing

  • Shonna Rea

    Annie–
    Made this for dinner last night with a couple ears of corn on the side. Awesome!!! My husband had three big bowls, I had two. Thank you!! Thank you!!! Great way to have the flavors but still a little heathly!! Taking this to our church picnic Sunday!!!

  • Coby

    Just had this for dinner tonight and it was a perfect way to kick off our post-road-trip “detox”! I was a little nervous about the mayo and buttermilk in the dressing – those are two foods that give me the willies :-) – but they complimented the flavors of the salad nicely!

  • Vera Zecevic – Cupcakes Garden

    Yes ! Just perfect for hot summer day main meal! I will surly try this!

  • Celine

    This was our lunch today and it was perfect for a hot summer day! We used fresh tomatoes from a family member’s garden. This was my first time making croutons, and they are awesome- I can’t stop eating them! In order not to waste the bread crust, I crumbled the crust pieces in the food processor to use as breadcrumbs later. Thanks for the recipe!

  • annieseats

    So glad you enjoyed it!

  • Heather

    I made this tonight and posted it on my blog. So easy, so yummy thanks for the recipe!

  • Vanessa F.

    Made this today to take to a neighborhood potluck crab-fest, and it was a big hit! As you suggested, I prepared all the components ahead of time, put them into separate containers, and threw the containers into the bowl I had decided to serve it in. Once I got to the party, I threw them all together, dressed the salad, and DONE. The dressing and Parmesan brought to mind a Caesar salad, actually – with bacon :) – and the homemade croutons made it extra special!

  • erinrose

    This is great and easy. I made it just this weekend. My husband loved it. I was able to find a smoked turkey bacon which made it a health bonus. The homemade croutons turned out great. Thanks for the recipe!