BLT Salad bowl with a Maple Syrup dressing

This is a superb quick, tasty and healthy salad that will complement any dish. Perfect for these lazy summer evenings. We used our Pancetta style back bacon in the recipe, but it works equally with all our other flavours.

Serves 4 (as a main course)
4 x 1cm thick slices sourdough bread, crusts discarded
200g (approx. 8 rashers) Pancetta-style back bacon
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 little gem lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried
80g wild rocket leaves
Small bunch fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
2 ripe but firmĀ avocado’s
300g vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, halved
For the dressing:
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp maple syrup
8 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the grill to HIGH. Line the base of the grill pan with a large sheet of foil, shiny-side down, so that it will collect all the bacon fat as it renders.

2. Tear the slices of bread into small pieces and set to one side. Place the bacon rashers side by side on the rack of the grill pan and grill for 2 minutes on each side until crisp and lightly golden. Remove and leave to cool then bread into small chunky pieces.

3. Pour the bacon fat from the grill pan into a large non-stick frying pan, add the olive oil and place it over a medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the pieces of bread and toss them around until they are all well coated in the fat. Fry, stirring regularly, until all the pieces are crisp and golden. Scoop onto a plate lined with kitchen paper, sprinkle lightly with a little salt and leave to cool and crisp up.

4. Tear the larger little gem lettuce leaves into slightly smaller pieces and mix them with the rocket leaves and torn basil. Divide between one large or 4 large individual salad bowls. Halve the avocado’s, remove the stones and skin, and cut the flesh into thin slices. Tuck the slices in amongst the leaves with the cherry tomatoes and crisp bacon pieces.

5. For the dressing, whisk the vinegar, mustard and maple syrup together in a bowl. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over each of the salads, scatter with the sourdough croutons, and serve straight away.