Tomato season is still going strong here in the Pacific Northwest. Summer arrived late this year and the warm days we got came in mid-September so tomatoes were latecomers to the farmers’ market. I’ve served them hot and cold, cooked and au natural for almost every meal the past few weeks but I have my favorites I keep going back to that I never get tired of. Do you blame me? Who doesn’t love vine ripened, luscious slices of heirloom tomatoes sandwiched between thick slices of crusty bread and topped with crispy bacon and fresh lettuce? I love it, big time, and hate to think how many of these fantastic sammies I’ve put away in the past weeks. As I was standing in line in the Farmers’ Market on Saturday waiting to buy my weekly como loaf from Grand Central Bakery it dawned on me that I could still have all the wonderful flavors of my favorite sandwich and cut back a little bit on the calorie count if I left the bread out and made a salad instead. Now that I think of it I probably just traded calories but I am enjoying my salad version of the classic BLT and the tanginess of the Blue Cheese Dressing is scrumptious with the bacon, lettuce and tomato.
My dressing recipe is available everywhere on the internet and I think I first saw it in one of Ina’s cookbooks. You can change it up to suit your own taste. If I have fresh tarragon I will use that, sometimes I add more cracked pepper, a little lemon juice, chives, you get the idea. It’s a delicious dip for fresh veggies, but be careful, a pint of it can disappear pretty darn fast.
- 4 ounces good Roquefort cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup heavy cream or sour cream (buttermilk if you are counting calories)*
- 2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process to desired consistency. I like to leave some little chunks of cheese in the dressing.
I will be so sorry to see tomato season come to an end. Hothouse varieties are OK and get us through the winter, but there is nothing like the homegrown, ripe off the vine varieties that are available now. Strawberries are the same way, to-die-for during their season but hardly edible the rest of the year when they are imported from the hinterlands. Enjoy them while we have them.