We like to make this salad as a light dinner sometimes (perhaps with some bread on the side), mainly so we can have it for lunch the next day. I would call it an entree - It does have bacon, fruit and vegetables in it, so what else do you need? - but it would obviously make an excellent side dish or potluck contribution. This recipe first appeared on my blog, Cake Over Steak. The salad is mostly adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, and the dressing is adapted from another Food52 recipe. —sara_cornelius_
3-4 as a main, or a crowd as a side
For the dressing
apple cider vinegar, divided
apple, peeled, cored and diced into medium-sized pieces (preferably Pink Lady or another sweet/tart apple variety)
In a small skillet over medium heat, add the 3 oz. of vinegar and the sugar. Let it reduce and thicken. It should turn a dark caramel color and foamy bubbles should form on the surface.
Add the apple and garlic, cooking until the apple gets soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat to let it cool for a few minutes.
In a blender or food processor, add the apple mixture with the rest of the vinegar, thyme, lemon juice, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt. Pulse until combined and only small chunks remain.
Add 4 oz. of olive oil and pulse again. Add more olive oil until you reach your desired consistency. I ended up using about 5 oz., which made a dressing closer to the consistency of a thin apple sauce.
Add salt to taste and set aside.
For the salad
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.
Lay bacon slices on a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, leaving room between each slice. Drizzle the bacon with maple syrup. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until it reaches your desired crispness. Place finished bacon on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. (While the bacon cooks, this would be a good time to do some chopping)
Place the chopped onion in a small bowl with 1/2 cup of the dressing. Let that sit for at least 5-10 minutes.
In a large bowl combine the broccoli, apple, carrots, cranberries, raisins and almonds. Chop the bacon into bite-sized pieces and add it to the bowl. Add the dressing-soaked onions to the bowl.
Mix everything around and add more dressing as desired. I ended up using all of my dressing. (This salad was not overly-dressed. If you prefer your salad with a heavier dressing, you may want to double the dressing recipe and enjoy the leftovers on something else throughout the week.) Add salt to taste.