Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Arugula Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette

It’s January, and with the New Year comes a lot of new resolutions to start exercising, lose weight, and eat healthier. If you know me at all, you know that these are all challenges for, especially the “eat healthier” part. But I’m making an attempt, and that’s why I tried this salad. I’ll admit, a bacon vinaigrette probably isn’t the MOST healthy thing I could have chosen, but come on. Baby steps.

All in all, it was pretty good. In the future I would add a little more seasoning to the dressing, since it was pretty bland. But I love the hot ingredients and dressing with the arugula. The original recipe (from The Pioneer Woman) called for spinach, and I made a second version for my husband with romaine so I’m sure this will work for any lettuce you love.

1 red onion, sliced thinly
Black pepper
Parmesan Reggiano (optional)

3 Tbsps. Reserved bacon grease
3 Tbsps. Red wine vinegar
2 Tsps sugar
½ Tsp Dijon mustard
Dash Salt

Start by frying up your bacon. I made the mistake of trying to get fancy and using some pancetta, but it did not make enough grease for the dressing, so I would recommend sticking with bacon. (We ended up cutting up some bacon to add to it). When that is nice and crispy, remove to a paper towel and remove all but about 2 Tbsps of the grease to a small saucepan. Now start caramelizing your onions over medium-low heat. This should take awhile, around 20 minutes. We didn’t let ours go that long because we like ours slightly less brown. Remove the onions and set aside, then brown your mushrooms over medium heat. Don’t let them get completely soft, just enough so that they are well browned. In the meantime, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing over medium heat until they are combined and heated through. No need for this to simmer; it just needs to be warm.

Now simply assemble the salad with the lettuce, bacon, onions and mushrooms. Pour the warm bacon dressing over the top and toss to coat. Then give it a dose of cracked pepper and if you want, grate a little Parmesan Reggiano over the top. There you have it. Maybe not the healthiest salad in the world, but at least it’s a small step in the right direction. 

(click here for printable recipe)

ps. 200th post! Woohoo!

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