Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cape Cod Salad with Bacon, Apple & Blue Cheese

A delicious start to a Thanksgiving feast, Ina Garten's Cape Cod Salad is quick and easy to prepare and the fabulous flavour combinations are perfect Autumn fare: sweet apples, tart dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, salty bacon, tangy blue cheese and spicy arugula. Like many of Ina’s recipes, this salad is as delicious as it is lovely to admire. The dressing on this salad is fabulous: orange juice and maple syrup add sweetness while the apple cider vinegar brings a hint of fall. Toasted walnuts add depth of flavour to the dressing which is accentuated by the dried cranberries. Ideal with with wild arugula, any mixed greens would be equally festive for this healthy harvest salad.

Ina Garten's indispensable cookbook, Barefoot Contesa: Back to Basics

Cape Cod Salad
Serves 6
Recipe courtesy of The Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten

8 slices thick-cut bacon
8 oz wild arugula
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
1/2 cup toasted walnut halves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
6 oz blue cheese, such as Roquefort or St Agur, crumbled

3 tbsp good apple-cider vinegar
1 tsp grated orange zest
2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
2 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
Kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup good olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400°F. 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.

In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, apple, walnuts, cranberries, and blue cheese. For the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, orange zest, orange juice, mustard, maple syrup, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.

Chop the bacon into large pieces and add it to the salad. Toss the salad with just enough dressing to moisten. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss well. Serve immediately.