Recipe from

TRUE NORTH

by Derek Dammann and Chris Johns

INGREDIENTS

For the croutons

Brioche bread for croutons, crust removed, torn into ¼- to ½-in. pieces

For the Bleu d’Élizabeth dressing

1½ cups crumbled Bleu d’Élizabeth or other delicious raw milk blue cheese, divided

1 cup mayonnaise, divided

¼ cup buttermilk

¼ cup sour cream or crème fraîche

1 tsp. minced chives

1 tsp. minced Italian parsley

1 tsp. minced fresh mint

¾ tsp. champagne vinegar

½ tsp. onion powder

¼ tsp. garlic powder

Kosher salt

Black pepper

For the salad

½ lb. smoked bacon, cut into lardons

1 large or 2 small heads iceberg lettuce

Extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Black pepper

8 oven-dried tomatoes

A few Italian parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

Flaky sea salt to finish

METHOD

For the croutons

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the brioche pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Rotate the pan, stir and flip the brioche pieces, and toast for an additional 5 minutes or until lightly golden and crispy. Allow to cool. (Croutons can be stored in an airtight container.)

For the Bleu d’Élizabeth dressing

In a small bowl, combine half of the cheese and half of the mayo. Cream together using a rubber spatula. You want a semi-smooth mixture. Add the remaining mayo, buttermilk, sour cream, chives, parsley, mint, vinegar, onion powder and garlic powder; stir until evenly incorporated. Add the remaining cheese and fold to incorporate. Season with kosher salt and pepper. (Dressing, without the herbs, can be made up to 1 week ahead and refrigerated. Stir in the herbs just before serving.)

For the salad

In a medium, heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring ¼ cup of water to a simmer. Add the bacon and cook, stirring often, until the fat renders out and the lardons start to crisp. (Using water allows the fat to render out evenly.) Drain the bacon on paper towels and allow to cool to room temperature. Trim off a little bit of the root end of the lettuce and cut each head into 6 wedges. Soak the lettuce wedges in ice water for 15 minutes, then gently spin them dry, being careful to keep them intact. Drizzle the wedges with the olive oil and season with kosher salt and pepper. Arrange them on a large, decorative platter or on 6 plates. Drizzle some of the dressing neatly over the iceberg wedges, and sprinkle with the lardons and brioche croutons. Neatly arrange the tomatoes in and around the other ingredients, shower the parsley over the salad and finish with a few crystals of flaky sea salt. Serve extra dressing in a jug on the side.

SERVES 2-4