As avocados were on special offer in one of my local stores I bought one to ripen in time for last weekend’s lunch. Hmm…perfectly ripe a week later, it’s been so cold here until today. When I read a post last week within CURED BY BACON about candied bacon I thought it would be the perfect pairing, and it is. Can’t quite believe I’ve never had candied bacon before. It’s also easy to prep and cook.
Other ingredients I haven’t had in a while, like the avocado, are Brussels sprouts and swede, both of which I roasted along with the bacon. The other ingredients used I happened to have to hand. What was especially good in this was a simple dressing of balsamic vinegar (a white balsamic during milder weather would be great) and extra virgin olive oil and lots of dried marjoram. A swede, btw, is a rutabaga, turnip or sometimes called a yellow turnip. As for the salad I shied away from using croutons, or cubed sautéed potatoes as I did for my last salad. Especially as I was having pasta for sups.
Avocado and Candied Bacon Warm Salad, with roasted Brussels sprouts, swede and almonds
- olive oil
- 2 x rashers streaky bacon (1 per person)
- 1 x teaspoon molasses (dark brown granulated) natural unrefined cane sugar + extra if needed
- 1/2 x tablespoon light brown sugar + extra if needed
- 1 x small swede (rutabaga or yellow turnip), peeled and cut into cubes about 2.5cm or 1 inch
- 200g (7.05 oz) x Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut into halves
- 3 or more x small round shallots per person, trimmed both ends and peeled (mine were cooked in bacon fat on the hob/stove top)
- 1 x Little Gem lettuce (small romaine type), washed and shredded
- 1 x lemon, rolled under palms, cut in half and juice extracted into a bowl through a fine sieve to collect all pith and seeds, to prevent the avocado from discolouring
- 1 x ripe avocado, sliced in half, stone removed and discarded and skin peeled off. Cover liberally with lemon juice. To butterfly hold the thin end gently and make slices from below your thumb to the fatter end
- flaked almonds, toasted
- pumpkin seeds, toasted
- about 4 x pitted black olives (not pictured) per person, sliced into circles
- 1 x teaspoon dried marjoram, or to personal taste
- extra virgin olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
- Preheat oven to 200°C, 400°F or Gas 6.
- To make the candied bacon I laid out two slices in the roaster to be used in the oven. One teaspoon of the natural unrefined cane sugar had to be put into a small bowl. With a fork that was mashed and what would stick on the tynes was easily transferred unto the bacon. A dessertspoonful of soft brown sugar was then used to help cover any bare patches. With the back of a spoon that was easily dispersed over both strips of bacon. According to CURED BY BACON it’s best to lay the sugared bacon on a rack within a suitable roaster lined with parchment paper, as the bacon will turn out flatter. As I was going to break the bacon into bits I didn’t bother to do that.
- In the meantime prep the shallots, add them to a heavy-based saucepan on electric heat No 2 (out of 6) in bacon fat or oil. Place a lid on for the first 5 or 10 minutes, after that keep the lid off. Pan-fry until nicely golden, turning them over occasionally. Take off heat, replace lid to keep them arm.
- Prep both the Brussels sprouts and swede (rutabaga or yellow turnip). Get them into a suitable bowl with a glug of oil and stir them through making sure they’re evenly coated. Season them if you want to. Place them around the edge of the roaster without overcrowding.
- Put the roaster on second shelf up, as I’m using electric. Check them 10 or 15 minutes later and carefully turn the sprouts and swede to get them evenly cooked. Return to oven and continue to roast for 10 – 15 minutes more. Times will vary so do keep an eye on their progress. Switch oven off and keep them warm whilst preparing the rest of salad.
- Sprinkle the flaked or slivered almonds and pumpkin seeds into a saucepan and put on heat No 2 for about 5 minutes, then reduce heat to No 1 until the almonds start to turn a golden colour. Do shake the pan occasionally.
- Prep the lettuce and black olives and any other salad ingredients that you want to use, I like the idea of using a little beetroot in this dish.
- Make the dressing using about ¹/3 of balsamic to ²/3 of olive oil, sprinkle over the marjoram and serve with the dressing.
- When bacon and veg are ready plate up and eat.
- As I knew I was having pasta for sups I didn’t go with any carb for this salad. Bulgur wheat, couscous or quinoa would all go with this, even though I’ve never had the latter. Even a lightly toasted ciabatta with herbs and garlic would be good, too.
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