I am a salad girl. Big time. No willpower involved here, I just genuinely like salads. My husband once told me that when we were first dating, he thought that salad was all that I ate, since apparently I ordered quite a few when we first started eating out together. Now, it's certainly not all that I eat, but I sure do like a good salad, packed with flavor and fresh ingredients. The Dishwasher and I are both fans of salad that combine a little fruit with fresh greens, some strong cheese, some crunchy nuts, and a little crisp, smokey turkey bacon. It's one of our regulars.
But this one, people, this is a gussied up, fancy-pants salad. The kind you could serve to company. I spontaneously fried up a few sage leaves here under the turkey bacon when I was cooking it. I had a bunch of sage fresh from my mom's garden, and just tucked them right in. Okay, first, let's ignore that turkey bacon fat is probably not the healthiest fat in the world. Second, I'll just admit, when I tasted that turkey-bacon-fried-sage, I sort of thought I was brilliant. It did a little something for the turkey bacon too. Thanks Mom, for the sage!
Before you check out the recipe...enter the fabulously exciting cookbook giveaway. It's the last day! Tomorrow I'll announce the winner, and ask said winner to e-mail me his/her mailing address, and then, said winner will be in possession of this .
Apple and Asiago Salad, with Turkey Bacon and Sage in a Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette
adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The New Classics
1 Tbsp whole-grain mustard
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp raspberry vinegar, divided
2 Tbsp raspberry jam
1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
4 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp water
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
4-6 slices turkey bacon
6-8 sage leaves
1 tsp butter
1 Tbsp sugar
8 small white boiling or cipollini onions
1 head red leaf lettuce, washed and chopped
a few dates, pitted
3 ounces Asiago cheese, thinly sliced
multi-grain or honey wheat bread, to serve with
1. First, prepare the vinaigrette. Heat 2 Tbsp raspberry jam for 15-20 seconds in the microwave to thin it. Then whisk in the mustard and 1 Tbsp raspberry vinegar. Add in 1 Tbsp water. Then, gradually add in 4 tsp olive oil, whisky to emulsify. Add in 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup to taste. (My raspberry vinegar is quite strong!). Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the toasted, chopped walnuts.
2. Place the peeled onions in a small skillet with 1/4 cup raspberry vinegar, 1/4 cup water, and 1 Tbsp sugar. Bring to boiling, then lower the heat to keep the liquid at a simmer. Simmer for 10-12 minutes, until the onions have softened and absorbed most of the liquid.
3. Cook the turkey bacon in a non-stick skillet according to package directions. Place the sage leaves under the bacon. They only take a minute or two to cook up, so remove them to a plate when you turn the bacon. They should develop an olive green color, and they will crisp up as they cool.
4. Slice the apple into 1/8 inch thick wedges (go ahead and leave the skin on). Remove the turkey bacon from the skillet when it is good and crisp. Melt 1 tsp butter in the non-stick skillet with the turkey bacon fat over medium heat. (I know, I know, these are not friendly fats here, but it's really just a little bit, and it's in a salad.) Cook the apple slices for 1-2 minutes on each side, so that they have slightly browned.
5. Dress the red leaf lettuce. Arrange each plate with a mound of dressed greens, topped with a slice or two of turkey bacon, a mound of apple slices, a few thin slices of Asiago cheese, 1-2 onions, and a few dates. Place a wedge or two of bread on the side to mop it all up with. Crumble the sage leaves over the top and enjoy!