Cape Cod Chopped Salad

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Consumed with writing essays for professors and working at a noodle bar, I have neglected this blog.  The other day a friend left a bag of my favorite Easter candy (Easter egg shaped Recees) on my doorstep.  It has taken all of my self control to not eat the entire bag in one sitting.  I promised myself that if I wrote a post I could have several pieces upon finishing.

This salad is positively scrumptious.  The dressing is light with flavors of citrus.  The acidic nature of it compliments the fatty bacon.  Crunch and chew are added with dried cranberries, apples and nuts.  To round it out, the cheese offers a hit of creaminess to the exceedingly fresh salad.  Ina Garten, whose recipe I adapted from, suggests using blue cheese.  Since I have an aversion to the stank of blue cheese, I am willing to give up the sophistication that Roquefort might bring to my life by instead using goat cheese.

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Serves 4 or 5

  • 8 ounces thick-cut bacon
  • 8 ounces baby arugula (I prefer mixed greens including spinach)
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnut halves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 6 ounces blue or goat cheese, crumbled (Even try feta and let me know how it goes!)

For the dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons good apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup good olive oil

Toast the walnuts in a dry saute pan over medium-low heat for 4 to 5 minutes, tossing frequently, until lightly browned.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and lay the bacon slices on the rack.  This is an easy way to cook a lot of bacon at once and have it cook evenly without splatter.  Roast the bacon for about 20 minutes, until nicely browned.  Let cool.

In a large bowl, toss together the greens, apple, walnuts, cranberries, and cheese.  For the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, orange zest, orange juice, mustard, maple syrup, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper in a bowl.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil.

Chop the bacon in large pieces and add it to the salad.  Toss the salad with just enough dressing to moisten.  Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss well.  Serve the salad immediately so that the greens don’t wilt.

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