Pancetta Tomato Bibb Lettuce Salad with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

August 29, 2009Katie


So I got the September issue of Gourmet this month and got excited.

I love to look through my Gourmet each month and see the innovative and rugged photography, and the way the food stylists make the cuisine look so earthy, so hip, so happening now.

Then I usually carefully place my Gourmet magazine in my magazine basket, along with my Bon Appetit back issues in reverance.  For after all, these are the premier cooking magazines,the know-it-alls in the foodie world.  The gods of all that are on the edge of the cooking realm.

Hadn’t really dawned on me to actually try a recipe until this weekend.

Because, after all, they’re  really not your average, every day run-of-the-mill items to cook for dinner.  I mean, glance through the pages, and you may see things like Persian Cucumber and Purple Rice Salad or Sorbetto De Uva.

Not the type of ingredients you can pick up at your local Wal-Mart either.

So, if you live in the middle of the Bible-Belt, better known as Oklahoma, you know the likelihood of you coming up with “Persian Cucumbers” is about as likely as finding a Bergdorf Goodman on the street corner by your house.

However, a few recipes “spoke” to me as I thumbed through the chic pages of the food elite.

This is one of them.

In Gourmet it is called Beefsteak Tomato, Butterhead Lettuce, and Bacon with Blue Cheese Dressing.

#1 – I couldn’t find Butterhead Lettuce but then realize it may come under a different name in my market – Bibb Lettuce.  This stuff looks amazing and comes in a little plastic case with the roots (and dirt) still attached.

bibb lettuce

#2 I had a huge container of vine-ripened grape tomatoes hanging out in my refrigerator, so I tossed out the beefsteak tomato part.

#3 I saw a gorgeous package of pancetta at my deli so I grabbed that instead of bacon.

But other than that, I swear I followed the recipe to the T.

So here I go, experimenting with the first of  my Gourmet-Meets-The-Real-World experiments.

Put 4 pieces of round pancetta slices in a saute pan and cook them over medium-heat until crisp.  If you can’t find pancetta, use 6 slices of bacon, chopped and sauteed until crisp. In the food-world, this is called “lardones”, or small pieces of pork fat fried until crisp.  Set these aside for a bit.  Please resist the urge to pop one into your mouth.  Also, please slap anyone of the male persuasion who walks by and tries to snatch one off of the plate.

Thank you.


Make the dressing.  Homemade dressing is so surprisingly easy.  If you try it, you will find that you can make so many of them so easily with what you have on hand.  Why buy? But go ahead and buy, that is, if you want Disodium Glutamate in your dressing…it’s your choice.

Measure out one-half cup of sour cream into a bowl.


Pour in 1 tablespoon drippings from the pork you just lardoned.  NO idea if that’s a word, but it sounds cool.


Honestly (sorry Gourmet)?  I would probably skip this step, as I didn’t taste it AT ALL, and it’s horribly unhealthy.  Don’t tell anyone, but I also used Light Sour Cream.

Add in 3 tablespoons milk.


Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.


I am currently taking donations for new measuring spoons, on account of, somehow mine ended up in the disposal.  They are bent and ugly and I have no idea how these things happen in our household.  Of course, no one admits to anything….But I think his initials are M.W.

Chop up one green onion and toss it in the bowl.



Add one cup of crumbled blue cheese.  I have no idea why, but I apparently didn’t take a picture of this.

Stir everything up really well.  I use the side of the spoon to kind of mash the blue cheese so that the flavors are released.


If you like your dressing a little thinner, it’s okay!   Just add a little more milk.

Take your lettuce.  It’s so fresh and gorgeous.  Arrange it on your plate.

Spoon some of the dressing over top of the lettuce.


Slice up whatever wonderfully ripe tomatoes you might have on hand.

Scatter them over the lettuce and dressing.  Then crumble up your crispy pancetta or bacon over top of all.1

This was absolutely wonderful next to the Pancetta Brocolli Garlic Quiche we served along side of it.

Yes……another Gourmet recipe coming soon.

Grab a fork and dig into this fresh, wonderful salad.


If you’re a Blue Cheese lover, you’re going to love this.

Pancetta Tomato Bibb Lettuce Salad with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4
  • 1 head bibb lettuce
  • 4 slices round pancetta
  • 12 cherry tomatoes sliced in half
For the dressing:
  • ½ c. sour cream
  • 1 T. warm bacon grease
  • 3 T. milk
  • 2 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 c. crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 T. milk more for desire thinning
For the salad:
  1. Gently tear lettuce into leaves and arrange on 4 plates
  2. On medium heat in nonstick pan, cook pancetta until crisp and remove to paper towel lined plate to cool
For the Dressing
  1. Mix all together with large spoon, smashing crumbles a bit to release flavor into the dressing.
  2. Spoon over salad.
  3. crumble a slice of pancetta over each salad and sprinkle each with cherry tomato halves



  • Fran J

    August 30, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    tho' I am not a blue cheese lover, the salad looks great. BTW, still waiting to see the "big fish" that was caught by MW.
  • 20 Healthy Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes

    January 4, 2017 at 1:23 pm

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