Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Escarole with Bacon, Dates, Walnuts and Warm Vinaigrette

I made this recipe to use up the last few slices in the package of bacon that were left after the (glorious) chicken Caesar skewers. It was good timing, too, as escarole is in season. I didn’t have walnut oil, so I used a mixture of avocado and olive oils. This salad was wonderful, and reminded me how much I enjoy dates.

1 7- to 8-oz head of escarole, coarsely torn (but don’t be afraid to chop too small)
6 Medjool dates, halved, pitted, diced (or more)
½ cup walnut pieces, toasted
5 bacon slices, cut crosswise into strips
¼ cup walnut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
fine sea salt

Combine escarole, dates, and walnuts in large bowl. Cook bacon in medium skillet over medium-high heat until brown and crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Add bacon to bowl with salad.

Discard drippings from skillet; add walnut oil. Place over low heat. Add shallot; sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; add vinegar and whisk to blend. Season vinaigrette with sea salt and black pepper. Gradually add warm dressing to salad, tossing to coat. Divide among plates.

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