This salad from Thomas Keller's family-style restaurant, Ad Hoc, in Yountville, California, is a twist on the quintessential American combination of iceberg lettuce, tomato wedges and packaged bacon bits with a mayonnaise dressing. Only the iceberg lettuce wedges stay the same: The tomatoes are oven-roasted, the bacon is cut extra thick and the buttermilk dressing is spiked with chives, mint and parsley.
2 ounces brioche, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (2 cups)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped mint
3 tablespoons snipped chives
1/2 pound thickly sliced bacon, cut into 2-by-1/2-inch pieces
2 medium heads of iceberg lettuce, cut into 4 wedges each
Preheat the oven to 275°. Prepare a bowl of ice water. In a medium pot of boiling water, blanch the tomatoes just until the skins loosen, about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to the ice water to cool. Drain and peel the tomatoes, pat dry and halve crosswise.
Arrange the tomatoes, cut side up, on a nonstick baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle with the chopped thyme and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 2 1/2 hours, or until the tomatoes are very tender and slightly shrunken. Transfer the tomatoes to a plate and let cool.
Meanwhile, spread the brioche cubes on a small baking sheet and toast for about 15 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Let the croutons cool.
In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, crème fraîche and buttermilk until smooth. Add the lemon juice, parsley, mint and 1 tablespoon of the chives and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until chilled.
In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and slightly crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Put each iceberg wedge on a plate, add a tomato half and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Scatter the croutons and bacon on top. Garnish with the remaining 2 tablespoons of chives and serve, passing the buttermilk dressing at the table.