Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thanksgiving: The Salad

Here is the next episode in a stress-free Thanksgiving.

Watercress/Bacon/Granny Smith salad

As usual, do not obsess over exact measurements and times unless otherwise directed.

4-6 strips really good bacon (as usual, I like Nueske's)
4 large bunches watercress, about 2 lb. total, stemmed and separated
½ tsp. salt, plus more as needed
3 Tbs. apple cider vinegar and/or lemon juice
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more as needed
3 small, ripe but firm Granny Smith apples

1- Julienne the bacon. In a small saucepan cook over low heat until VERY crisp but not burned. Remove to drain and reserve 5 tbsp. of the bacon drippings (if you need to augment, you should use peanut oil) and allow them to cool somewhat; you want the drippings to be "warm to the touch."

2- Peel and core apples. Dice or julienne (big or small, depending how rustic or frou-frou you want this to be) them and put in a bowl with a bit of extra lemon juice or vinegar and JUST enough water to cover (this will prevent discoloration).

3- In a large bowl, place the watercress and drizzle with the bacon drippings and toss. Sprinkle the ½ tsp. salt over the watercress and toss again. Add the bacon and vinegar/lemon and the ½ tsp. pepper and toss well. Add apple bits and toss again. Taste and correct the salt and pepper.

OPTIONAL: Sprinkle some crumbled blue cheese (I like Maytag blue) and/or crushed nut (walnut/hazelnut/almond, etc.) bits.

You may also substitute frisee or mache for the watercress.