Saturday, January 21, 2017

Italian Greens Salad with Sauteed Apple, Crispy Bacon and Aged Gouda

Waiting to be tossed

This is our new, favorite salad.  Been making it throughout the holidays and into the new year.  A good fall and winter salad.

You can tell from the lighting in my photos that we are cooking when it is dark outside this time of year.  Rather depressing.  But this salad is bright and homey at the same time.  We really like it.
Image result for wegmans italian greens mix
A mix of romaine, endive and radicchio Italian greens hold up well to the bacon, sauteed apple and aged Gouda cheese.  Or you can use escarole.

The salad dressing is sweet and spicy, because it is made with Dijon mustard and maple syrup.  It goes well with the apples and the bacon.

Only make this with real maple syrup.  And look for extra-aged Gouda in the cheese section. Smoked bacon works best, but anything you have will do.

Italian Greens Salad with Sauteed Apple, Crispy Bacon, and Aged Gouda
(adapted from Fine Cooking, Dec 2016/Jan 2017)

Serves 4

1 8 oz bag of Italian Blend Salad Greens
(or 8 cups of cored and chopped escarole)
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 T. sherry vinegar
1 T. pure maple syrup
1 T. Dijon mustard
4 slices of bacon
1 large crisp apple, cored and sliced into wedges
2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) coarsely grated, aged Gouda
salt and pepper to taste

In a large salad bowl, add the chopped greens.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup and Dijon mustard.

In a skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, to render out the fat, until crispy.  Remove from the skillet to a paper towel to drain and cool.
Drain off the fat, then add the apples, placing them one side down, and cook over medium heat until browned, then flip them over and brown the other side.  You want them to start to caramelize and start to soften, but not get mushy.  Takes about 3 minutes per side, a total of 7 minutes to get them softened and brown.

Scrape the apples from the skillet over the greens, then break up the bacon into bite size bits over the apples, then grate the aged Gouda cheese over the top. Season with salt and pepper. (we didn't need anything but pepper due to saltiness of the bacon.)

At the table, add the dressing, then toss it together and serve.

If you want a more wilted salad, then you can add the dressing to the hot apples in the skillet, and then pour it over the greens, before adding the bacon and cheese.  Season. Then toss together and serve.

Both ways are good.


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