Winter

APPLES WITH ALMONDS, BACON AND PECORINO ON A BED OF ARUGULA

by:
January  9, 2011
Author Notes

My favorite winter salads are always a combination of bitter greens with apples or pears, nuts, and either salty or buttery cheese. You can create so many different combinations using just these guidelines. There is only one caveat: you must use homemade vinaigrette. Make it with a strong vinegar like sherry as that will enhance the flavors of your greens and fruit. To make this particular salad, I used what we had in the house and shopped for greens and cheese. I chose arugula because that was the only bitter green available yesterday. After sampling various salty cheeses, I chose Wholefoods' Pecorino Toscano. With my cheese and greens selected, everything else sort of fell into place. This dish is really two salads stacked on top of each other: the arugula salad goes on the bottom and the apple salad goes on top. The pecorino is added at the end. I prefer equal amounts of each salad, but please feel free to adjust that proportion to your own taste. Also, if you think chopping apples into matchsticks is too fussy, then just dice them. It won't make any difference. —Waverly

  • Serves 2 as a main course; 4 as a side
Ingredients
  • VINAIGRETTE
  • 2 small shallots, finely chopped (1/4 - 1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • FOR THE SALAD
  • 6 generous handfuls baby arugula, rinsed and dried
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 slices smoked bacon (I used apple smoked)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, sliced into matchsticks
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino cheese, shredded
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. PREP THE VINAIGRETTE: In a small bowl or jar with a lid, combine the shallots with the vinegars and salt. Set aside. The shallots will turn pinkish and sweeter in the vinegar. Have the mustard and oil ready, but move onto making the salad for now.
  2. PREP THE GREEN SALAD: Place arugula in a large bowl. Season with salt to taste and set aside.
  3. PREP THE APPLE SALAD: Place bacon in a large skillet and cook over MEDIUM HIGH until brown and crisp. Place cooked bacon on paper towels. Drain all but 1-2 Tbsp. bacon fat from the skillet. Add almonds and saute over MEDIUM heat until almonds are light brown. Place almonds on paper towels. Season with salt to taste. When bacon has cooled, chop. In a medium bowl, combine the bacon, almonds, and apples.
  4. FINISH VINAIGRETTE AND TOSS BOTH SALADS: Stir Dijon mustard into the vinegar mixture. Whisk in the olive oil. Toss the arugula mixture with enough vinaigrette just to wet the leaves, 2-3 Tbsp. Toss the apple mixture with another 2-3 Tbsp of the vinaigrette.
  5. SERVE: Divide the arugula salad among plates. Top each plate of greens with a generous heaping of the apple salad. Top the apple salad with cheese and serve.

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Waverly used to be a lawyer and is now a mother 24/7. She has made a commitment to cooking for her family and absolutely loves it even when her family does not. She is teaching them, one meal at a time, to enjoy wholesome homemade food. She abhors processed food but recognizes its insidious nature and accepts the fact that her children will occasionally get some Skittles, Doritos, or the like. Her philosophy and hope is that if she teaches them well at home, they will prefer wholesome healthy foods when they go out into the world without her.