Vivian's BLT Dip

This retro dip combines the perfect pairing: bacon and mayonnaise. It was inspired by a dip made by Vivian's assistant and "coordinator of chaos", Holley Pearce. Holley’s family serves a similar dip at their annual beach trip. Duke’s Mayonnaise is Vivian’s mayo-of-choice for making the dressing rich and creamy. Crumbles of Applegate bacon add the perfect crunch when you’re scooping the dip on top of white toast triangles.

From “Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South,” by Vivian Howard (Little Brown, 2016).

Green Goddess Dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup picked basil leaves
2 tablespoons picked tarragon leaves
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 anchovy fillets or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 garlic clove, sliced
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

3 medium tomatoes, small-diced
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 head heart of Romaine
10 turns of the pepper mill or 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound smoked bacon, cooked till crisp, then crumbled
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions, green parts only

Make the dressing: combine everything in the blender and blend until completely smooth and green. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Make and assemble the dip: Toss the tomatoes together with 1/2 teaspoon salt and sugar. Set that over a colander to drain for about 30 minutes.

To prep the Romaine, cut off all but 1/4 inch of the leafy portion of each lettuce on either side of the stem and reserve that for another use. Chop the Romaine stems into 1/3-inch pieces. You should have about 1 cup Romaine stems.

Set aside about 2 tablespoons sliced scallions and 1/4 cup Romaine stems for garnish. Then in a medium bowl, stir the tomatoes, black pepper, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, Romaine and scallions together with the Green Goddess dressing.

To serve, spoon the tomato mixture into a serving bowl. Top with the reserved Romaine stems followed by the bacon. Garnish with the scallions. Serve at room temperature with crostini, chips or triangle toasts.

Yield: 6 servings