1 medium heart of romaine lettuce, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 of a loaf ciabatta bread, cut in half horizontally
1tablespoons olive oil
1 cup grape and/or cherry tomatoes
3 slices bacon
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup torn fresh basil
Brush cut sides of lettuce and bread with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Thread tomatoes onto skewers,* leaving 1/4 inch between each tomato. For a charcoal or gas grill, place lettuce and bread, cut sides down, and tomato skewers on the rack of a covered grill directly over medium heat. Grill for 2 to 4 minutes or until light grill marks appear on lettuce and tomatoes and bread is toasted, removing food from grill as it is done. Coarsely chop lettuce and cut bread into 1-inch pieces. Remove tomatoes from skewers.
For vinaigrette, in a large skillet cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet. Cut up bacon; set aside. If necessary, add enough of the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the reserved drippings to equal 3 tablespoons. Add onion to the reserved drippings; cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Add vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. Cook about 1 minute more or until reduced slightly, stirring to scrape up crusty browned bits.
In a large bowl combine lettuce, bread, tomatoes, bacon, basil, and cheese. Drizzle with vinaigrette; toss gently to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
From the Test Kitchen TIP: This recipe can easily be doubled to serve 14 to 16 people.
*TIP: If using wooden skewers, soak in water for at least 30 minutes; drain before using.
Nutrition Facts: Per serving: 135 kcal cal., 9 g fat (3 g sat. fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat, 4 g monounsatured fat), 13 mg chol., 245 mg sodium, 8 g carb., 1 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 4 g pro. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, onions, jalapeno and a pinch of salt. Add enough of the buttermilk to make a stiff batter. You may not need the whole 2 cups.
Heat the peanut oil in a deep fryer or a large heavy bottomed pot to 250 degrees F.
Drop the batter into the hot oil by teaspoonfuls. The hushpuppies will turn over in the oil as they cook. They are done when they are brown all over, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels and season with salt. Keep the hushpuppies warm while you fry the remaining batter. Serve hot.
Cook’s Note: If you can’t find self-rising cornmeal, substitute 2 cups cornmeal plus 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt.