April 2, 2013

Mixed Greens with Candied Bacon, Blue Cheese & Balsamic Vinaigrette

First let me say that  I use Coleman brand bacon which can be found at Costco. They also have hot dogs and other prepared meats.  No BHT, nitrates or nitrates (see package below). The ingredients are pork, water, brown sugar, sea salt, celery powder, and lactic acid starter culture. When you make the bacon this way,  it is like candy. If you cooked it longer and slower you would have a jerky. It goes well in salads, with eggs and quiche, or alone on a stick.  You could dip it in chocolate, fold it into batters, you name it.  Very rich and decadent, treat it with care.  Its not your grandpa's bacon.  
I have served this salad for many parties and events and the guests LOVE it.  The blue cheese marries with the dressing and the walnuts add toasted crunchiness to compliment the creaminess of the cheese. 

For the bacon
  • 12 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 3 Tbsp.  light brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. pure maple syrup
  1. Preheat oven to 425.  Position  rack in the center of the oven.  
  2. Layout the strips of bacon in one layer on a large rimmed cookie sheet or jelly roll pan (you may have to do 2 batches.) 
  3. The strips of bacon can be touching, but shouldn’t be overlapping. 
  4. Drizzle both sides of the bacon with the maple syrup and then sprinkle both sides with sugar.   
  5. Bake until browned and crisp, 20-22 minutes. 
  6. Remove from pan and lay flat on a plate or non-stick surface like waxed paper. 
     Coleman Natural Uncured Hickory Smoked Bacon

The Salad
  • 1- 10 oz. bag of spring mix
  • 1 small container of blue cheese crumbles
  • 1 cup of toasted walnuts
  • 12 strips of candied bacon, chopped
  • Use a balsamic vinaigrette to lightly coat the salad
  • Optional: thinly sliced shallots
Lightly toss greens with dressing, topping with nuts, bacon and cheese.

The Dressing
  • Makes 1 cup
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, and shake until the dressing emulsifies; or, process in a stand blender.
Store in a jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Shake the jar before using.
Just a side note:  I cooked the bacon on a Demarle Flexipan tray.  Imagine maple syrup,  and brown sugar on a cookie sheet and the awful mess of a cleanup.  Using Demarle products makes it so easy to clean up.  Just some warm soapy water and a cloth.  Cleans up in seconds. 

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