BLT Salad with Crispy Smashed Potatoes
BLT sandwiches seem to be having a moment right now. I mean, it makes sense for everyone to be wanting a BLT at this time because it is after all peak tomato season, a.k.a. THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR! But for me, a little BLT sandwich is still not enough tomato. My obsession with the produce bounty of late summer is so strong, that it can only be satiated with an entire platter of tomatoes! And that, dear reader, is where the BLT Salad comes in.
Imagine a scenario where, instead of biting into your favorite ingredients of a BLT and having those precious sweet peak-season tomato juices running down your hands, a civilized fork allows you to assemble the perfect bite without the sticky mess. That is the beauty of the BLT Salad. I thought of doing this as a panzanella with nicely seasoned croutons to continue to honor the sandwich origins of this flavor combo, but I realized I was too proud of my smashed potatoes recipe to not want to share it with you all. And there is something about the creamy fluffiness of those potatoes that goes so well with the juicy tomatoes and the salty bacon. Hence, I now present to you my BLT salad with crispy smashed potatoes and, of course, burrata.
These crispy smashed potatoes are so good as part of a breakfast platter, as a side dish with whipped feta and herbs, and—obviously—as a way to bring heartiness to a salad. I use Spice Tribe’s Mama Manje Haitian-inspired seasoning blend whenever I make them, and these seasonings blooming in the oven as the potatoes roast makes my whole house smell so, so good. The blend was inspired by Spice Tribe founder Trent’s visit to Haiti with the non-profit Every Mother Counts, and is meant to capture a combination of the ingredients in epis, a foundational seasoning blend for Haitian cuisine, and the tea that is commonly drunk by Haitians. To me, the combination of green bell pepper, onion, thyme, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, habanero, and star anise works so well as an all-purpose seasoning, and in addition to this smashed potatoes recipe, I have been using it whenever I want to imbue a dish with a complex blend of flavors and not have to think too much about it.
Serving Size: 2-4
For the Smashed Potatoes
- 1 pound mini creamer potatoes
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon Spice Tribe Mama Manje blend
- 4–6 strips center cut thick bacon
For the Dressing
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon Spice Tribe Mama Manje blend
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
For the Salad
- 3–4 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- 1 cup frisée or baby lettuce leaves
- 4 ounces burrata or fresh mozzarella
- Cherry tomatoes (optional)
- Microgreens (optional)
- Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- In a medium pot, combine potatoes with 6 cups of water, or enough to completely cover the potatoes in 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Continue boiling potatoes until very soft and a fork pokes through with no resistance, about 20–25 minutes.
- In the meantime, preheat oven to 450°F and make the dressing. Combine all dressing ingredients except olive oil in a bowl and whisk together until the honey dissolves. (Microwave for 10 seconds if needed to soften the honey.) Then, slowly whisk in the olive oil. Set dressing aside.
- Drain boiled potatoes well and allow to cool slightly. Add to a large mixing bowl along with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and Spice Tribe Mama Manje blend. Toss until potatoes are evenly coated, then dump everything onto a large baking sheet.
- Move potatoes to the sides, then press each one gently with a fork until it cracks open and flattens sightly. Drizzle another 1 tablespoon olive oil over smashed potatoes. Place strips of bacon in the middle of the same baking sheet, in a single layer.
- Place baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for about 8 minutes, flip the bacon, then continue baking until the bacon is crisp, an additional 7–12 minutes (for 15–20 minutes total). Transfer bacon onto a plate to cool slightly (bacon will become a bit more crispy while cooling). Continue baking potatoes until the fluffy edges begin to turn golden brown, about 5–7 minutes more.
- Break up bacon into bite-sized pieces. Arrange frisée or lettuce leaves, tomato slices, bacon, and crispy smashed potatoes on a serving platter as desired. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper to taste. Top with torn up pieces of burrata or mozzarella, and additional cherry tomatoes and microgreens (if using). Lightly drizzle some dressing over everything and serve the rest of the dressing on the side.