Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Grilled Potato BLT Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

As evidenced by the archives of my blog, we eat tons of salads in the summer.  I can't get enough of my chopped summer veggie grilled salad, a classic caprese, watermelon feta salad, basic caesar, and everything in between.  And now I have this amazing salad to add to the rotation.

I first made this salad over Memorial Day weekend, and I served it as a side dish to grilled New York Strips.  Wouldn't you know, I all but ignored my perfectly cooked steak, and just totally devoured this salad instead!  I continued the obsession all summer long, making this for lunches quite often, and it makes for a wonderful dinner as well.  I've never made a salad with two dressings, but the combination of the light vinaigrette and the drizzle of rich blue cheese dressing works so well.  The bracing vinaigrette is mellowed by the blue cheese, and the pungent blue cheese is sharpened by the vinaigrette.  Love all around.

I have this bad habit of "remembering" what I need for recipes I've made in the past, and instead of checking the actual source, I just buy what I think I need.  Unsurprisingly, this leaves me short of ingredients quite often, but I've gotten pretty good at improvising.  Last time I made this, I was out of sour cream and buttermilk, and I used Mexican crema and mayonnaise instead with no ill effects.  It's also forgiving for the herbs;  scallions or grated onion work well in place of the chives, or add basil or parsley to the dressing or vinaigrette as well.  You can roast the potatoes instead of grilling, and grilled zucchini is a great addition too.  Basically, this is a super forgiving and adaptable salad, so feel free to take your own liberties with the recipe/  And should you have any potatoes leftover, they are ridiculously addictive dipped into the blue cheese dressing.

Grilled Potato BLT Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing
adapted from Fine Cooking, June/July 2016

There are several components to this salad, but they are all really easy and it comes together quite quickly, especially if you prep the dressing and vinaigrette ahead of time.

Blue Cheese Dressing

  • 2 oz blue cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream, plain yogurt, or mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk, creme fraiche, or crema
  • 1 tsp chopped dill
  • 1 tsp snipped fresh chives
  • 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • dash of hot sauce
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper
For the Salad
  • 2 lb fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise, or quartered if very large
  • kosher salt
  • 24 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce, quartered and very thinly sliced (or 2 romaine hearts, halved and thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 6 oz thick-sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
Prepare your grill to cook at medium-high heat.  

Make the dressing:  In a medium bowl, whisk together the blue cheese, sour cream, buttermilk, dill, chives, vinegar, and hot sauce.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Cover and set aside.

Make the vinaigrette:  In a mason jar, combine the vinegar, shallot, and mustard.  Shake well to combine.  Add the oil and shake again, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook the potatoes and make the salad:  Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with 1 inch of water.  Season with 2 Tbs salt, and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Boil for 3 minutes, then drain the potatoes in a large colander and rinse with cool water.  

Spread the potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet to completely cool and dry 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.

Meanwhile, toss the cherry tomatoes with 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper and set aside.

Toss the potatoes with 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Grill the potatoes, turning once, for about 3-4 minutes per side, or until they are tender throughout and nicely marked.  Taste and season with additional salt if needed.

In a large bowl, combine the lettuce with basil and about 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette.  Divide evenly among plates and top with potatoes, tomatoes, and bacon, and drizzle with the blue cheese dressing.  Serve.