Friday, September 18, 2015

14. Classic Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Tacos with Blue Cheese Dressing and Garlic Sourdough Croutons


This is going to be a busy taco-making weekend!  My work week at school got so crazy that I didn't make any tacos.  :(  I know.  I was sad, too!

That means I need to make tacos TWICE this weekend to stay on track for my project.  I wanted to get really creative and ambitious tonight but . . . to be honest, I was kind of tired.  I decided to go with something rather basic, but still delicious!

Who doesn't like a BLT, right?  I decided to try and convert the flavors and textures of the classic sandwich into an unexpected and satisfying taco.  Here is the result of my last minute Whole Foods run:

OK, OK.  I already had the mayo and the cider vinegar, but the rest was newly purchased!  :)

A bacon, lettuce, and tomato taco seems like a no-brainer at first.  All you need to do is throw the typical BLT sandwich fixings into a tortilla, right?  No.  No, no, no.  What about the toast?  If you just throw it into a tortilla, you lose the texture of the toasted bread.  And who slathers plain mayo on a taco?  It requires just a bit more finesse!

I decided to use a dressing made with blue cheese AND mayonnaise!  That way, you get the traditional mayo creaminess, but you also get some tang and complexity from the blue cheese.

Also, I made simple garlic sourdough croutons to use as a garnish on the taco.  They are a perfect stand-in for the crunchiness and toasty flavor that one would expect with a BLT.

It was a perfect, EASY, dinner choice for a fatigued Friday night.  (Is that a thing?  Fatigue Friday?  If it's not, it should be!)

By the way, this features my FAVORITE method for cooking bacon.  Once I tried cooking it in the oven, I never looked back!

Here's the recipe:

Classic Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Tacos with Blue Cheese Dressing and Garlic Sourdough Croutons

Serves 4 (About 8 tacos, but it's easy to adjust as desired!)


For the croutons:

2 slices sourdough bread, toasted and allowed to cool
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic
a pinch or two of salt

For the dressing:

1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. minced chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

16 slices bacon (about 2 slices for each taco)

1 heart romaine lettuce, chopped

3 to 4 small ripe tomatoes, sliced and seasoned to taste with salt and pepper

8 fajita-size flour tortillas


1.  Make the croutons:  Press the garlic through a garlic press into a medium skillet.  Cover with the olive oil and a pinch of salt.  Heat over low heat until fragrant.  While the oil is heating, finely chop/dice the bread.  Add the bread to the skillet and cook until crisp and golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Be sure to keep the heat low so that the garlic doesn't burn.  If the croutons seem dry, feel free to add an extra splash or two of olive oil.  I did.  :)  Set aside to cool.

2.  While the croutons are browning, make the dressing:  Combine all ingredients except the chives in a small bowl.  Blend with a fork until relatively smooth.  Stir in the chives.

3.  Cook the bacon:  Line a baking sheet or two with foil.  Place the desired number of bacon slices in a single layer on the baking sheet(s).

Place the baking sheet(s) in the oven and turn the oven to 385 degrees.  (Don't preheat; start with a cold oven.)  Cook the bacon until browned and crisp, anywhere from 16 to 22 minutes, depending on the thickness of the bacon and how far apart the slices are.  The cooking time can really vary depending on your oven and the bacon, so use your judgement.  Just keep cooking the bacon until it's done the way you like it.  Watch it carefully at the end so it doesn't burn.

Remove the bacon from the baking sheet(s) with tongs and drain on an oven-safe plate lined with paper towels.  Turn the oven off.  If desired, you can place the bacon back in the oven to keep warm.

4.  When the bacon is almost done, prepare the tortillas to your liking.  There are a few different ways you can do this.  I heat a dry cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  I place a large sheet of aluminum foil near the pan.  I heat each tortilla in the skillet for about 30-60 seconds on each side, or until it softens and begins to brown.

After each one is done, I place it on the foil and immediately start the next one.  I stack them on top of one another as I work.  When I'm done with the whole batch, I wrap them completely in the foil.  If you wish, you can place them back in the oven (wrapped in foil) to keep warm with the bacon.   

5.  Assemble the tacos:  For each taco, place a tortilla on a plate.  Top with a few slices of tomato.  Add about 2 slices of bacon (broken in half) to each taco.  Sprinkle with some of the chopped lettuce.  Drizzle with some of the dressing.  Garnish with the garlic croutons and enjoy!

So . . . these tasted just like a really awesome BLT!  :)  I guess the next question would be, "Why not just make a sandwich?"

Because.  This is The Taco Project.  It's not The Sandwich Project.  I convert anything and everything food-related into a taco these days.  That's just how it is.  (Steve did point out, however, that this recipe would make an equally outstanding wrap if you use a larger tortilla!  I agree; it would!)

Since a lot of the elements are pretty simple, I would make sure to use quality ingredients:  good tortillas, fresh lettuce, ripe tomatoes, top-shelf bacon, etc.  

I have no reservations about these.  They were delicious!  The croutons were an essential element.  I wouldn't skip them!  

Feel free to comment on this recipe!  Did you try them?  What did you think?  Can you think of any other classic recipes that would translate well into the the taco world?  :)

Thanks for reading!

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