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. 
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