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lettuce bacon and blue cheese

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Lettuce bacon and blue cheese salad

Bacon dressing is an age-old invention. I used to make this dish when I was twenty-odd: red beans from a tin, chopped lettuce, sunflower seeds and bacon diced and fried up to render fat. Adding vinegar or lemon, salt and pepper to the fat would create great dressing. Tipped into the salad – pretty damn good.

My friends and I would get together, have lots of bread with this salad, drink even more copious amounts of beer and think proudly we were adults – actually having FOOD at our parties, not just booze, booze, and some more booze. Those were the days.

I thought that this recipe (if you can give such a lofty moniker to such a simple dish) vaguely related to my salad days. It’s super good; you just have to get really fatty streaky bacon, otherwise no dressing to speak of. And the method is a bit like starting off to make a sauce, what with the flour and all, and then at the last second changing your mind and making a dressing.

Salad with bacon dressing

To be honest, anything with blue cheese crumbled onto it has to be good, that’s the inherent quality of the stuff. Use Stilton or any blue cheese that can be crumbled – possibly not Gorgonzola or anything too soft.

lettuce bacon and blue cheese


INGREDIENTS

  • For the dressing:
  • 100g (4oz.) smoked streaky bacon, not especially lean
  • 1 tbsp. butter (if needed)
  • 1 tbsp. plain flour
  • 200ml (¾ cup) water
  • 4 tbsp. (¼ cup) white wine or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • For the salad:
  • 2 heads of Romaine heart or Cos lettuce
  • 100g (4 oz.) soft blue cheese (Stilton, Gorgonzola)
  • ½ bunch fresh parsley, chopped


METHOD

Romaine lettuce

1. Chop the bacon into 2cm chunks and place it in a skillet over medium heat. Cook for about 10 minutes until crisp to your liking. Remove it onto a plate with a slotted spoon.

2. If there’s not much fat rendered in the pan, add the butter. Stir in the flour and cook until coloured. Add the water, vinegar, sugar and mustard and bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer for about 10 minutes until thickened to the consistency of gravy. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Bacon dressing

3. Cut the lettuce lengthwise into quarters and arrange on the serving dish. Drizzle warm dressing over it generously, sprinkle with the bacon, parsley and crumbled blue cheese.

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