Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cape Cod Chopped Salad

(Final)ly Done

My second quarter of college has just ended.  Another week of sleepless nights is in the books, along with yet another round of horrendously poor late night snacking and munching.  But more importantly however, is the fact that there's no more financial accounting class! (although I do have managerial accounting to look forward to next quarter.)

flower in a field

As a special mini celebration, the apartment next door and I cooked dinner on Friday before we all left for home Saturday morning, and consisted of pissaladiere, fried polenta cakes with a vegetable ragu, steamed artichokes with mustard garlic mayo, and profiteroles.  If you're suspiciously asking yourself where the meat was, I myself as a reluctant Catholic observed the rule of no meat on Fridays during Lent, and half of the diners there were already vegetarian to begin with. 

I have to say, it's amazing to have a week off and have absolutely nothing important to do, leaving me time to do things such as...

a schnazzy photoshoot in the middle of a creek.

... and leaving me time to catch up with all the blogging I haven't been doing these past few months.  Seriously, I think I owe an apology to my readers for totally failing at keeping up with you guys!  Hopefully this spring break I'll write enough posts to last for all of next quarter.  

the ensemble shot

I think my salad making skills has evolved over the years.  When I first started making dinners, salad was always an afterthought compared to the main course, and usually consisted of a head of iceberg doused in a bottle of that gloppy day-glow italian dressing from Kraft.  Steadily I moved on to romaine with bottled Caesar and boxed croutons, and now I'm at the point where I'm busting out the organic greens, homemade vinaigrettes, and tedious fix ins.

For me what separates a "meh" salad with a "god damn give me another bowl" salad is the add ins and how well they go together with the dressing.  To be quite honest I could care less about the lettuce, as it's just a vehicle for bacon or croutons tossed in dressing, though if its radicchio, I won't touch that salad with a ten foot pole.  I have to say, this salad falls under the give me another bowl category.

Cape Codd Chopped Salad

recipe from Ina Garten


8 ounces of thick cut bacon
8 ounces of arugula, or spring leaf lettuce
1 large granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1/2 cup of toasted walnuts, chopped
6 ounces of crumbled bleu cheese
2 avocados, diced

for the dressing
3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of grated orange zest
2 tablespoons of orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons of dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
kosher salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and lay the bacon slices on the rack.  Roast the bacon for about 20 minutes, until nicely browned.  Allow to cool.

For the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, orange zest and juice, mustard, and maple syrup.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, walnuts, cranberries, bleu cheese, avocado, and bacon.  Toss with just enough dressing to moisten.