What to CookSalad

An Endive Salad to Ease You Into January

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Salad shouldn't be an obligation or an afterthought -- and it doesn't always have to be kale, either. Every other Thursday, Elizabeth Stark from Brooklyn Supper will help you make salads you actually want to eat. 

Today: If you're already working on those 2015 resolutions, a raw kale salad isn't going to feel like a meal. A salad dressed with warm bacon and homemade buttermilk ranch, on the other hand, will make healthy eating both easy and satisfying. 

When it comes to healthy eating, people can have an all-or-nothing attitude. And between post-holiday guilt and New Year's resolutions, that's especially true now. If December was all about cookies and and cake and figgy pudding, then January must feature a parade of undressed salads and bowls piled high with steamed broccoli. I'm not usually one for culinary austerity, but even I'll concede that a wholesome meal is never so welcome as it is in January.

But please don't throw out everything good just because of a few (dozen) cookies. Food doesn't work that way. Thanksgiving happened. Christmas happened. You can't undo what's been done. Besides, if you switch over to a diet of raw kale and steamed squash, you're just going to make vegetables a penance, rather than food. Far better to find satisfaction in a hearty (and "hearty" means creamy and bacon-y here) winter salad than to power through a flavorless January and slip back into old habits.

This salad relies on three simple, but absolutely delicious elements: tender endive, warm slab bacon, and creamy buttermilk ranch dressing. I like to finish things off with excessive amounts of black pepper, but that part's up to you. 

The ranch dressing improves overnight, so consider making it ahead of time. 

Endive with Bacon and Buttermilk Ranch

Serves 4

For the buttermilk ranch dressing:

1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 cup buttermilk, shaken vigorously
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Splash sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons minced parsley, plus a bit more for garnish
2 teaspoons minced chives, plus a bit more for garnish
1 teaspoon minced thyme, plus a bit more for garnish
Ground black pepper, to taste

For the salad:

1/4 pound thick-cut bacon
6 Belgian endives
Sea salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon minced fresh herbs

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Elizabeth Stark

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Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Bacon, Endive, Vegetable, Side, Weeknight Cooking