Sunday, January 15, 2012

Saving Salad

Let's face it.  Salads are boring.  You take a ubiquitous head of lettuce and toss it with chopped vegetables and pour some bottled dressing all over it.  If you are like me, the inside door of your refrigerator is littered with half-used bottles of prepared dressing like tombstones in some forgotten graveyard.  Each one marks a failed  attempt to add some mojo to what is essentially a flavorless pile of produce.   No one in my family but me eats salad, and I do it so that I can justify eating something good.  My teen-age daughter refuses to eat salad "until there's a free and united Ireland."  She's in this boycott for the long haul.  No more.

I've found the solution to ho-hum salad.  Bacon. Notice I didn't say "bacon bits."  "Bacon bits'" are freeze-dried artificially flavored pellets of I don't know what, but never ever put anything on your food that looks like rabbit droppings.   To really transform something as boring as the typical salad, you need bring out the cast iron fry pan, put down a slab of fatty meat, and sizzle it crisp.   Add some caramelized onion and place it hot on a bed of arugula or spinach.   Nod in silent recognition that if you add bacon to Brussels sprouts,your family might even eat those too.

Warm Arugula Salad

1.  Fry one pound of sliced bacon.  Fry it long enough so that's its crisp enough to crumble.

2.  Peel, half, quarter, and and quarter again 4 medium sized red onions.

3.  Saute the onions in about 2 Tbs of the bacon fat until they are slightly brown and caramelized.  Add about 1 tsp of fresh thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.  Add the crumbled bacon and set aside until ready to serve.

4.  In a separate bowl, lightly toss baby arugula or spinach in a dressing of 2 parts olive oil and one part balsamic vinegar.  Realize that this simple dressing is the only salad dressing that you will really ever need, and start throwing away everything in the refrigerator featuring the words "Hidden Valley" or sporting Paul Newman's face.

5.  Place the greens on individual serving plates.

6.  Add about a large handful of pine nuts to the bacon/onion mixture and re-fry on medium heat until the pine nuts start to turn golden brown.

7.  Place a large dollop of the bacon/onion/pine nut mixture on each bed of greens.  Serve immediately.


No comments:

Post a Comment