Bacon Blue Salad

bacon blue salad

This is the salad we get at Moby Dick's clam shack in Wellfleet -- the cold wedge we devour in the breezy warmth of the screened porch, everybody sun-flushed and salt-haired and sandy, waiting for their chowder and clam rolls... We love the wedges for their Moby-Dick's fanciness, but the truth is that I more often serve the lettuce simply shredded in a bowl with the dressing and bacon. It is way easier to eat, and requires much less involvement of everybody's blue-cheesy fingers.

And please note the vegetarian option here: smoky maple walnuts instead of bacon. I was trying to think of a good substitute for the salty-smoky-sweet crunch of the bacon, and this is what I came up with. They're totally addictive, even if you're not a vegetarian.

Total time: 15 minutes
Yield: Serves 8

Ingredients

    1 head of iceberg lettuce, cut into 8 wedges
    Blue cheese dressing (see below)
    1 pound bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled, or
    Smoky Maple Walnuts (see below)

    Blue Cheese Dressing (Makes 2 cups):
    1 cup blue cheese (around 1/4 pound, I like Danish for this), crumbled
    1 cup Hellman's or Best Foods mayonnaise (not low-fat)
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    1 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Frank's
    Freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Smoky Maple Walnuts (Makes 1 cup):
    1 cup walnut pieces
    1/4 cup maple syrup
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
    1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

Directions

  1. To Make the Dressing: In a blender or food processor, or with a hand blender, whir all the ingredients together until smooth. Taste for seasoning and serve or chill.
  2. If Making the Maple Walnuts: Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, then add the walnuts, syrup, and salt, and cook, stirring, for 3-5 minutes until the syrup has cooked away and the nuts are coated and very thickly sticky. Sprinkle over the paprika and cook, stirring, another 30 seconds or so, then cool completely. As the nuts cool, they will become hard and dry. When they're completely cool, break them up and store airtight.
  3. For the salad: Dress the lettuce wedges, top with bacon or walnuts, and serve.

Read more about Catherine making Bacon Blue Salad with her family.

See more recipes from Catherine Newman at her "Dalai Mama Dishes" blog.

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