BLT Salad with Grilled Potatoes

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This weekend I hosted my annual Summer Rose Wine Party in my tiny backyard garden. It was a beautiful evening with a setting rose colored sky that matched the variety of blush and pink tones of the bottles of wine. This year also matched with the beginning blooming of my hydrangeas.

Per usual, it was a extended evening full of robust conversation and much laughter.  In a toast to begin the meal, my friend George kindly reminded us that these kinds of evenings were a reminder that life can be so delightful. He was so right; it was delightful to share the warm night with a table full of friends, good homemade seasonal food, lots of dry pink wine and a sweet summer sunset. The world can look quite lovely through rose colored wine glasses…especially as the night and bottles pass.

I prepared a menu of grilled Honey, Lime and Sriracha Chicken Skewers, a Beet and Carrot Salad, a delicious and rave reviewed BLT Salad with Grilled Potatoes and homemade Orange Crème Brûlée for dessert. There were zero leftovers, which is a good sign it was a delicious meal.

This Fine Cooking Magazine recipe should be on your short list for summer cooking. While two salad dressings is a little unusual, I think it’s what make it so delicious. Not to mention bacon and grilled potatoes. I took a shortcut and purchased prepared blue cheese dressing instead of making homemade. You could certainly purchase a good balsamic dressing for another cheater trick. Either way, it’s a showstopper recipe. So much that my friends asked to have it again for a Memorial Day picnic.

BLT Salad with Grilled Potatoes, Fine Cooking Magazine

For the blue cheese dressing
  • 2 oz. blue cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tsp. thinly sliced fresh chives
  • 1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • Hot sauce, such as Tabasco
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 small shallot, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad
  • 2 lb. fingerling or other small potatoes, halved lengthwise
  • Kosher salt
  • 24 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, quartered and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 6 oz. thick-sliced bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
  • 2 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Make the dressing

In a medium bowl, whisk the blue cheese, sour cream, buttermilk, dill, chives, vinegar, and a dash of hot sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and more hot sauce.

Make the vinaigrette

In a medium bowl, whisk the vinegar, shallot, and mustard. Slowly whisk in the oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook the potatoes and make the salad

Put the potatoes and 2 Tbs. salt in a 4-quart saucepan, and add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook for 3 minutes; the potatoes will still be a little hard in the center. Drain in a large colander and rinse with cold water until cool.

Spread on a rimmed baking sheet to continue cooling and drying until you’re ready to grill; they can sit for up to 2 hours at room temperature or up to 8 hours covered in the refrigerator.

Toss the cherry tomatoes with 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper.

Prepare a medium-high (400°F to 475°F) gas or charcoal grill fire. Toss the potatoes on the baking sheet with 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette, 1-1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Grill the potatoes, flipping once, until tender and nicely marked, about 3 minutes per side.

In a large bowl, toss the lettuce with the basil. Drizzle with about 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette. Top with the potatoes and tomatoes, drizzle with the blue cheese dressing, sprinkle with the bacon and parsley, and serve with any remaining vinaigrette on the side.

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