Falling Salads

This time of the year, I'm up to my eyeballs in apples and, as a result, they find their way into a wide variety of delicious things. Applesauce, of course, but also baked goods, savory chicken and pork dishes and more. One of my favorite ways to use them involves creative salads. There's nothing like being able to pair tart, crisp apples with smoked bacon and peppery arugula with nothing more than a mustardy vinaigrette to complete a meal. And that's exactly what I'm offering for you today!

Now, you can use any kind of apple in this salad, but I used fresh tart apples from my parents' orchard and I highly recommend a tart variety. Sweet is nice, but this particular salad benefits from the tanginess and it pairs well with the dressing, anyway. It's a perfect welcome to autumn.

Bacon-Apple-Arugula Salad

  • 6 slices thick-cut, smoked bacon -- cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tart apple -- cored and chopped into coarse pieces
  • 1 bunch arugula -- cleaned and torn
  • 2 T. coarse mustard
  • 1 T. mirin (sweetened rice wine can be found in the Asian section of most grocery stores)
  • 1 T. rice vinegar
  • 1-2 T. bacon fat

Fry the bacon until crisp. Remove to drain over folded paper towels. Reserve the rendered bacon fat for the dressing.

Toss the bacon with the apples and arugula and set aside.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a resealable bottle and shake vigorously to form a dressing. Toss with the salad and serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes

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