Festive Pear, Grape & Candied Bacon Salad with pomegranate arils, baby artisan lettuce, creamy blue cheese, dried cranberries & toasted pecans all drizzled with an orange mustard vinaigrette, is the stuff salad dreams are made of. Whether you’re making this beautiful salad as part of a holiday menu or just for dinner…you need to make it.
Are you a salads in winter person? I am. Initially I made this salad for my husband’s & my dinner one night. We’ve eaten it several times since because it’s so good. It’d make such a lovely addition to a Christmas menu, no matter what part of the world you’re in. Speaking of Christmas menus, this year I’ve asked my husband to look after the menu. Every year I decide the Thanksgiving & Christmas menu & prepare & cook it by myself. As I’m sure many of you do. I’m from a family of delegators. We decide who is making what & then all pitch in & prepare dishes for the Christmas menu. On the day everyone gets into the kitchen & helps. It’s loud & lots of fun. And stinking hot. Creating the whole menu start to finish on my own holds little appeal. I ask my husband what he’d like, his response is always the same – “I don’t mind what we have”. So for this year I’m passing the baton. He’s going to cook & I’m going to sip on wine & ice my very damage knee. Stay tuned…
Pomegranates seem to only show their faces around the festive season in North America. I know they’re available in Australia now too. How can they not be festive. Just look at them! I akin the fossicking for those ruby arils to digging crab out of its shell. You know that feeling when you crack open a leg & behold – a whole piece of crab meat? No. Oh well, it’s a joyous feeling. Pomegranates are like that. I tend to use a pairing knife & peel them, in the sink so as not to splash blood-red juice all over the white kitchen…futility at best.
Every fabulous salad needs an equally fabulous salad dressing – malt vinegar, orange juice, brown sugar, stone-ground mustard, olive oil. Or if keeping it really simple in more your thing, then go for balsamic & olive oil, also fabulous & my go-to for most salads I make.
Serve the salad family style on a large platter or cutting board. Or arrange the ingredients on individual plates & serve as an appetizer or a lighter meal.
Sorry but for whatever reason my recipe card plugin is broken & has been for the last week. Hopefully it will be sorted out tomorrow. Have you started planning your Christmas menu yet? Holiday menu? Are you throwing a party? Time to do some online Christmas shopping. Chat to you soon xo
Festive Pear, Grape & Candied Bacon Salad
- 8 strips bacon
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- generous pinch of freshly ground pepper
- 2 baby artisan lettuce trimmed, soaked & drained
- 1 cup red seedless grapes halved lengthways
- 2 ripe pears cored & sliced
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 4 oz blue cheese thinly sliced or crumbled
- 1/2 cup pecans toasted & coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup pomegranate arils (seeds)
ORANGE MUSTARD DRESSING
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons malt or sherry vinegar
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 tablespoons stoneground mustard
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar (or honey)
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- To make the dressing: Place all ingredients in a jar with a screw-top lid. Shake until well combined.
- Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Place bacon on greased wire rack in baking sheet. Sprinkle with brown sugar & pepper. Cook bacon for 20 minutes or until brown & glazed. Let cool on rack. Coarsely chop bacon.
- Arrange lettuce in one large bowl or individual serving bowl. Drizzle with a little dressing, salt & pepper & toss to coat. Add grapes, pears, cranberries & bacon. Drizzle with remaining dressing.
- Sprinkle with blue cheese, pecans & arils