Saturday, April 12, 2008

Quickly Impressive

I have a love-hate relationship with salad. I love to buy the pricey ones at restaurants. I hate it when for weeks on end I buy salad greens only to let them rot in the refrigerator. I don't know what it is, but I have the best of intentions when I buy salad greens, but my good intentions rarely lead me to refrigerator to make a salad before the greens go bad.

I've done better this last time around. The greens were in the crisper for a week before I made my first salad and they hadn't gone bad! Now when I'm in the mood to make a salad, I have a couple of killer ones. One is apple and bacon, the other is citrus. I'm working my way up to a fennel version. I also have one I learned to make salad with halloumi and grapes, but that's another post. Salad is really simple, but in a flash can be a real show stopper. This is the bacon apple salad.

Wash and spin dry your greens. If you are the epitome of lazy like me, grab a few handfuls of greens rinse them and blot with paper towels. A note on salad greens: I hate iceberg lettuce, unless I'm at a steak house and someone has drowned it in blue cheese. I prefer the dark greens, which are actually better for you. I get down on watercress, baby spinach and baby arugula too. Baby arugula is my favorite. I love its peppery bite. Oh yeah. I like Bibb lettuce too.
I digress. You'll need a crisp apple. For salad, I tend to go for any variety other than Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith. Grab some pecans, dried cranberries, fresh parsley, fresh mint and blue cheese.

A couple of slices of cooked bacon would be nice too. This is turkey bacon.
Let's make the dressing. I don't measure anything. I use the mini bowl in Miracle. Throw in a little Dijon mustard (it makes the dressing creamy so you don't have to use so much oil.) Honey, salt, pepper and cider vinegar round out the party. I really, really wished I had a shallot, but no luck. I don't like garlic with this salad.

Take everything for a spin. Once everything is well mixed, leave the food processor running and drizzle in the oil. You can see when you've added enough oil because the dressing will be creamy. The ratio for acid to oil is 3:1, but you can cheat this because of the mustard and honey.
Now, get ready for assembly. I really like this salad in layers. Finely chop the parsley and mint. I have braces, so I have to chop the pecans too. Chop the bacon.

Dress the greens. I keep it simple. I pile the greens on a plate and add a couple of tablespoons of dressing. I mix it up with my hands. I sprinkle the chopped herbs next. The dressing helps the herbs stick. For some reason, I like the herbs in the salad instead of in the salad dressing. Sprinkle on the dried cranberries and blue cheese.

Slice the apple and arrange it on the salad. I know mine is not quite neat. If you have any apple left over, rub the cut side with the salad dressing or cider vinegar and wrap in plastic wrap. Top the salad with bacon and pecans. Drizzle with extra salad dressing.
Yum! Yum!

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