Avocado and Candied Bacon Warm Salad, with roasted Brussels sprouts, swede and almonds

Avocado and Candied Bacon Warm Salad, with roasted Brussels sprouts, swede and almonds

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

INGREDIENTS:

  • 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.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • 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.

.

Spreading both sugars as evenly as possible over the streaky bacon rashers.

Getting the veg evenly coated with olive oil before roasting.

All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Feed the Piglet:
All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) – Copyright © Johnny H Hepburn


38 comments

  1. This salad looks insanely good. I always get a little jump of excitement when I see other people post recipes about brussels sprouts… I think they’re delicious but so many people have been permanently scarred by being served grey mush as a child!! Your photos are awesome too. I’ll definitely be giving the candied bacon a go!

    Like

    • Totally agree with you. Funny thing is as I had to reheat the warm salad ingredients it didn’t bother me in the slightest that the Brussels sprouts were going soft. Normally I cook them on the hob/stove top in a little oil, that way I can get them just cooked tender. Roasted with the candied bacon gave them even more of a kick! Regardless of being overcooked.
      Thanks for your lovely comment, and Follow!

      Like

      • I think ‘softness’ definitely isn’t a bad thing if the sprouts are roasted or braised in a pan… you still get that delicious caramelized flavour and the sprouts retain their structural integrity. My grandmother used to boil them to death in salted water until all of their greenness dispersed into the liquid. She then proceeded tip the grey clumps onto a plate with roast meat and lumpy gravy. Ugh. Luckily, I didn’t give up on this awesome vegetable… I would’ve been missing out! (oh, and glad to be your ‘follower’, the pleasure is entirely mine!)

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          • Aw, sorry to hear that (they missed out). I was definitely lucky to know my grandparents and their eccentric ways. My grandmother was quintessentially English, right down to her cooking. She taught me how to handshake and wave like the Queen… all the essentials in life, that kind of thing 😉 Anyway, I’d better stop or I’ll clog up your comments feed! Thanks for the chat, I’ll be looking forward to more of your posts!

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  2. I am so thrilled you were able to incorporate my recipe for candied bacon in such a creative way! This salad looks fantastic, and I love the pairing of brussells sprouts and bacon myself, but I’ve never matched them with my candied bacon! I will have to try this myself.

    Cheers!

    Like

    • Believe me, I’m thrilled with this delicious culinary technique I’ve never bothered to try before. Quite simply put, thanks for the inspiration!
      Works well with the sprouts, and swede rather than croutons. And really liked the balsamic dressing, too.

      Like

    • Thanks! Really struggled with the background, though. Not exactly how I wanted it to look. Still, it’s a slightly differing style to what I’ve doing recently. Even I’m getting bored with that look!

      Like

  3. It took me a second to figure out what a “swede” is in the recipe. Not a citizen of Sweden. ;P Thanks for sharing its other names for this American.

    Like

    • Yes, that happened to someone else which is why I try and include other terms for veg if possible. Off course, I don’t know all of them. Wikipedia’s quite a good source for finding other names for veg and legumes.
      It’s even more confusing here in the UK as it’s only really in the south that call yellow turnip swede. Everywhere else, including the north, call them turnips!

      Like

  4. That looks delicious minus the brussel sprouts.I pinned it on Pinterest wanting the image up top of my favorite fruit avocado and not my least favorite veg. lol

    I love your blog name and tag line…Hilarious!

    Sindy

    Like

    • Hah! At last I know what the ‘tag line’ is.
      I’m on Pinterest, too. Have just realised recently that I have to use IE to be able to use it. So as yet I don’t have a lot of stuff on there.
      Have you tried caramelised Brussels sprouts? They are very different to boiled or steamed.

      Like

  5. Pinterest is a great digital tool for filling, blogs, recipes, D.I.Y., and fashion. It is a great vision board for manifesting and great way to promote your blog.

    I have not caramelized brussels sprouts or anything for that matter, but I have eaten caramelized foods. 🙂 I like caramelized black peppered pecans, on a baby green salad. But I have never made them, meant to but haven’t.

    Sindy

    Like

    • This was really nice. And, regardless of how sweet the candied bacon was it did feel sort of healthy.
      Quite like the quality of the photo but not the background. I’m trying to go for a slightly differing look, which is proving to be difficult. I get too comfortable with my setups to move forward, if that makes sense!

      Like

  6. Beautiful photo…lots of yummy ingredients going on in this plate. I plan on making bacon candy this year…can’t wait to see how that tastes…I’m sure it’s delish. Thanks for your wishing my blog a happy blogiversary! Carmen

    Like

    • Thank you. There were lots of flavours going on. I really miss salads in winter when it’s so cold here I need comfort food instead. As it’s a lot milder I’m craving these warm salads. There will, hopefully, be a new one over the weekend.

      Like

  7. Just trying to catch up on reading, and OH MY! What a fantastic grouping of flavors and textures, not to mention some of my all-time favorite foods: avocado, bacon and Brussels sprouts. I’m going to have to see if any of my non-sugar sweeteners will work for the candied bacon, because I think this is a wonderful idea. The closest I’ve come to candied bacon is a simple appetizer I used to make of bacon-wrapped dates… salty, sweet, crunchy and gooey all at once, and this brings that to mind. Awesome!

    Like

    • We have a name for those. I think it’s Devilled something. Have just checked and they can be called Devils on Horseback. Although the term usually refers to prunes but dates can be used. Little chipolatas wrapped in bacon are Pigs in Blankets. Really must do the devils on horseback…
      Do you eat locally sourced honey? If so I’m sure the flavour would be far better. I’ve used unrefined raw sugar I was able to buy before Christmas. That store isn’t selling it any more. It really has the most incredible taste so I was able to use it sparingly. Whichever you use these pairings were so darned good.

      Like


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