In farmers’ markets across much of the northern hemisphere, August is tomato season. Tomato’s are a beautiful and bountiful food that signals the end of summer. To celebrate the start of this years’ tomato harvest, we conducted a mini-poll in the test kitchen to learn “What do you like to create with the perfect tomato?”
It came to a close vote, but the delicious BLT took top honors (these Caprese Skewers came in a close second). Then our cooks got creative, found some inspiring recipes to create a “BLT Pasta Salad” and repeated our mantra at Entrée Press: “Play With Your Food!” The result…
Roasted BLT Pasta Salad with Creamy Horseradish Dijon Vinaigrette
A terrific pasta salad starts with an excellent dressing. Not too gloopy, not too tangy, a little zing, something fresh. This dressing is inspired by Ina Garten’s Creamy Mustard Vinaigrette, with some modifications of course.
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1 T Horseradish Dijon mustard (we like Annie’s)
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup good mayonnaise
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon dried Tarragon
Mix all ingredients well and set aside.
The Pasta Salad
The remaining ingredients were inspired by Life’s Ambrosia’s recipe for Creamy Bacon Tomato and Avocado Salad.
6 slices bacon
1/2 pound dried rotini pasta
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 avocado, pitted and sliced
large handful of spring mix lettuce (or whatever salad lettuce you prefer)
Cook bacon in an oven-safe pan and remove to paper towel lined plate. Set bacon and pan aside and keep the oven set to 400 degrees.
Tip: To cook the perfect bacon, lay slices on an aluminum lined pan and place the pan in the oven. Then, set the oven to 400 degrees and cook for about 15 minutes. Turn bacon and continue cooking until it’s achieved desired crispness.
While the bacon is roasting, cook rotini in salted boiling water according to package directions. Drain pasta and place in a large bowl. Pour vinaigrette over steaming pasta. Stir to absorb. Set aside.
Toss cherry tomatoes in pan with residual bacon fat. Place in the oven and roast until the tomatoes “pop.” Remove from oven and add to pasta and vinaigrette.
Add sliced avocado and lettuce. Stir well to combine and serve immediately. This dish is best served warm.
Tip: to prevent avocado from browning after slicing, add lime juice (not too much in this recipe).