Candied Bacon Salad

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I love salad. You’d never know this looking at the blog (how many cookie recipes do I have?!) I really love how you can have a whole meal composed almost entirely of vegetables, protein and a tangy vinaigrette with an array of textures and flavours-all in one bowl. I also love the challenge of working with what’s in your fridge when it comes to salad. That’s perhaps another reason there is little to no salad recipes on this site; I free-style too much for it to actually be a composed recipe I can share.

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There is something to be said for a salad recipe though. Something a little different, whether its an unusual ingredient, an unusual cooking application or what have you; people get excited about exciting food. As soon as I read candied bacon, I got excited. As soon as I read that there’d be little sweet bursts of pomegranate, I was halfway to the fridge grabbing all of the ingredients piled on top of one another (I have to keep things efficient, I pride myself in my ‘one-trip’ fridge sourcing).

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I know some people are obsessed with bacon. I get that. It’s porky, smoky and not that good for you; hence it’s cultural phenomenon and taboo qualities. I try not to eat it (not really being a huge fan anyways) but if it’s covered in clementine juice and dusted with sugar, creating a syrupy candy-coating, I’m soooo glad I’m not a vegetarian. That is to say however, this salad is light, creamy, tangy and texturally incredible. If you do want to opt out the bacon you still have a really exciting and memorable salad. I’d still push the bacon though, I mean come on, candied bacon??

Candied Bacon Salad

Adapted from Jamie’s America

Creamy French Dressing

  • 6 tablespoons good-quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 heaped tablespoon natural yoghurt
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. To make your dressing, put all the ingredients into a large serving bowl, whisk together, and season to taste. You want it to be slightly too acidic, so add a splash more vinegar if you think it needs it. Put to one side.

Salad

  • 12 rashers higher-welfare smoked streaky bacon
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 3 slices fresh white bread
  • olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 heaped tablespoons demerara sugar
  • juice of 1 clementine
  • 5 large handfuls mixed salad leaves, washed and spun dry
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1 small bunch fresh mint, leaves picked
  1. Get a large frying pan on a medium heat, add the bacon rashers and cook until lightly golden (but not really crispy), turning them every so often. Remove the bacon to a plate.
  2. Squash your garlic clove and add it to the pan, then turn the heat up a little and tear your bread into medium-sized chunks. Drop them into the pan so they suck up all the flavours and become crispy. If your bacon didn’t release a lot of fat and you think the bread needs a little help to crisp up, simply add a lug or two of olive oil.
  3. Add a pinch of black pepper and shake the bread around until crispy and golden, then remove to the plate with your bacon.
  4. Wipe the pan clean with kitchen paper, then put the bacon back in with the sugar and the clementine juice. Concentrate on what you’re doing, and make sure you don’t touch or taste anything at any point because it will burn you.
  5. Stir everything around in the pan so the syrup starts to stick to the bacon. As soon as the rashers are perfectly caramelized and sticky, use tongs to carefully move them to an oiled plate and leave to cool down for a minute. Whatever shape you leave the bacon in at this point is how it will set, so give the rashers a bend or a twist. Peel the remaining clementines and slice them into rounds.
  6. Grab your bowl of dressing and add your salad leaves.
  7. Halve the pomegranate and use a spoon to knock the back of each half and pop the seeds over the salad.
  8. Add your mint leaves, then use your hands to toss and dress everything thoroughly.
  9. Lightly toss your croutons through the salad and lay your candied bacon on top then pass the bowl around the table and let everyone serve themselves.
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