BLT Salad


* 1 pound sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

* 1/4 cup butter, cubed

* 4 slices white bread, crusts removed and cut into 1-inch cubes

* 1/2 cup mayonnaise

* 3 to 5 tablespoons minced fresh basil

* 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

* 1/2 teaspoon pepper

* 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

* 6 cups torn romaine

* 1-1/2 cups grape tomatoes


* In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels; drain, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings. Set bacon and drippings aside.

* In another large skillet, melt butter. Add bread cubes; cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove to paper towels; cool.

* For dressing, in a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, basil, vinegar, pepper, garlic and reserved drippings. In a large bowl, combine the romaine, tomatoes and bacon. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Top with croutons. Yield: 8 servings.