Last week, homemade butterscotch got the best of me. But I promised today’s recipe would star nutrient-packed leafy greens. And that it does. It also happens to star bacon, and more specifically, warm bacon vinaigrette. Leave it to me to transform kale—thou holiest of all trendy superfoods—into a salad with bacon drippings as a sidekick.
There’s just something about a warm bacon vinaigrette that makes people weak in the knees, and relaxes uptight leafy greens just to the point where they bend at the bite while retaining their crunch. This dressing features a quick mix of warm, rendered bacon fat with minced shallots, tangy apple cider vinegar and a dollop of Dijon. And then it’s time to let that salad freak flag fly, as you toss in the likes of toasted nuts, shredded parmesan or dried cranberries—all ready for a bacon bath. I’ll leave you with that thought. A bacon bath.
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Raw Kale Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
Yield: 4 - 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 10 min
2 pounds kale, washed and thoroughly dried
1/3 cup toasted nuts (such as walnuts, pecans or pepitas)
6 slices bacon
2 Tablespoons minced shallots
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Strip the leaves from the stems of the kale, and then roll up the leaves and chiffonade them into thin strips. Place the kale in a large bowl and top with the toasted nuts.
Cook the bacon in a large sauté pan over medium heat, reserving all drippings and leaving all crunchy bits in the pan. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.
Return the sauté pan over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of the reserved bacon drippings back to the pan. (If you don't have 3 tablespoons of drippings, use what you have plus some olive oil.) Add the shallots and sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Whisk in the vinegar, mustard and brown sugar, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Remove the vinaigrette from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
Chop up the reserved bacon and add it to the bowl with the kale and nuts. Toss the kale with the warm dressing and serve immediately.
Feel free to toss in dried cranberries and your choice or cheese, such as shredded parmesan or crumbled gorgonzola.