A few years ago when my husband and I were a spry, travel-loving couple instead of the couch-bound dullards we’ve become, we took a lovely autumn trip to Vermont and Montreal.
Back then, I did not own a laptop. I did not belong to Instagram. I documented things I found delightful or weird or delicious in a… sketchbook. Not for the world, just for me. I drew creatures and cartoons, and most memorably, food and recipes that stood out from our trips. I have cooked from this notebook, based on scrawly drawings in fine-tipped pen, ingredients labeled in minuscule handwriting. A birthday dinner on a hiking trip. A linguica sandwich in Seattle. A teacup full of chocolate pudding with a salty walnut crumble. These drawings, created in situ, were imbued with memories and I feel it now whenever I open that book.
The most detailed entry? Our dinner at Joe Beef in Montreal in September 2014. I was so astounded by the level of gluttonous delicacies I filled a whole page with our meal: Lobster spaghetti, aged steak, bone marrow mashed potatoes, and the late-summer salad that changed my view forever of what you were allowed to do with a salad.
It was essentially a tomato salad with thiiiicccck-cut bacon. My favorite part? The Worcestershire vinaigrette, which elevated the plate to a steakhouse salad. In my version, I added crisp butter lettuce to round out the BLT equation.
But oh, that bacon, I didn’t know it was possible to add so much bacon onto a salad. Until I realized “too much bacon” is a phrase that does not exist.
Joe Beef-inspired BLT Salad with Worcestershire Vinaigrette
- 3-4 medium tomatoes, preferably a few heirloom varieties
- 1 head of butter lettuce
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. minced chives
- However many slices of thick-cut bacon you deem sensible, then add four more slices
- Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place bacon on a foil lined baking sheet, and bake for 8-10 minutes. You may need a few additional minutes if your bacon is quite thick. You want it golden brown and slightly crisp.
Whisk Worcestershire sauce and olive oil together, then mix in the chives. Season to taste with pepper and a pinch of salt.
Arrange lettuce leaves and tomato slices attractively on a large platter. Shingle with whole slices of bacon, and sprinkle a bit of sea salt on each tomato slice. Drizzle sparingly with the Worcestershire dressing.