Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Not-Too-Virtuous Salad w/ Caramelized Apple Vinaigrette

Detox. Exercise. Diet. All virtuous proclamations the majority of us suckers ring in the New Year with. Renew. Rejuvenate. Revive. Blah. Blah. Blah. A new start. I am all for it, but I don’t think embarking on a slimmer, vegetarian You has any place, rhyme or reason in January.

For most, January is plastered in snow and ice, making a snuggle and duck for the down covers way more appealing than pounding the treadmill. Tank tops are still months away, osso bucco is tonight’s special and carbohydrate laden veggies are what our bodies crave. Few cleanses are inspired by a well stocked root cellar. It is the time to cure meat and hide the evidence of our wintery bacon indulgence underneath a cozy warm sweater. Save the cleanse and the 5am pre-work run for spring when your body, responding to the natural cycles of life, craves a rebirth. January is a socially created buzz-kill that demands we get off the Dionysus holiday wave of revelry and gluttonous indulgence. Booo! to whoever came up with that plan; I say it is unnatural to come out of hibernation so early. Thus, I proclaim all New Years’ resolutions should be postponed until March.

Still, if you demand a virtuous new You to kick off the new year (which will most likely be forgotten by March), here is a salad that should keep the guilt at bay (after all, it is a salad), but, will not to be such a shock to the system (it has pig product in it) that it will send you into a stupor of bitter resentment. Served with duck breast or a wedge of stinky cheese it will most definitely satisfy your resolution to treat yourself right in 2011!

 Not-Too-Virtuous Salad w/ Caramelized Apple Vinaigrette

For the salad:
  • 4 handfuls mixed greens
  • 1/4 celery root, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 gala apple, sliced very thinly into half moons
  • 1 fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon, cut into lardons
  1. Toast the pecans in the oven at 350 for about 7 min.
  2. In a heavy skillet cook lardons over moderate heat. Stir occasionally until crispy on all sides and reserve on a paper towel.
  3. Place all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Pour ¼ of the dressing over the salad and toss well.
  4. Taste a piece of lettuce and add more dressing, salt and pepper-- depending on your preference.
Caramelized Apple Vinaigrette:
  • 2 ounces brown sugar
  • 3 ounces, plus 1 ounce apple cider vinegar
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 gala apple, peeled, cored and medium diced
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 4 ounces olive oil
  • 2 ounces canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • salt
  1. In a small skillet over medium heat add 3 ounces vinegar and the sugar. Let it reduce until the color turns a dark caramel color and begins to thicken. You will start to see big foamy bubbles on the surface.
  2. Add the apples and garlic and sauté until the apples are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat and put in the blender with 1 ounce of vinegar, thyme, juice of ½ lemon and a pinch of salt. Woosh until blended, then slowly add the oil. Blend until the dressing is emulsified. Taste and season with salt and perhaps a splash more vinegar, depending on your preference. The dressing can be made four hours ahead.


  1. I never thought of it that way but you are sooooooooooo right. Screw the cleanse - more BACON!!!!

  2. Congrats Ash! This is so awesome. You are my Food52 superstar!

  3. let's not forget the virtue in taste. I think this is a rather virtuous salad in that light :)

  4. nice idea..thanks for sharing....