Leafy salad with candied nuts, bacon and apple, with maple Dijon dressing

I love this salad! If you think that this is just another salad, think again. It is  simple yet it hits the savoury, sweet and acidic flavours. The Boston lettuce, Belgian endive, and arugula provide slightly spicy and bitter notes, and are a beautiful base for the toppings. Did you know that Belgian endives grow in complete darkness? I saw it once on a food documentary, and I’ve been amazed at these cone shaped vegetables since.

I used 100% pure maple syrup in the dressing, which I recommend. Also, if you can find white balsamic, buy it. You get the same sweet taste of balsamic vinegar but it doesn’t change the colour of your food. Once you make this salad dressing once, you will want to put this on every leafy salad you make.

Serves 6-8 people

Ingredients:
Boston lettuce- torn into bite size pieces
1 Belgian endive-remove stem
Large handful of arugula
1/2 cup of mixed nuts
1 cup of sugar
1 tbsp butter
3 slices of bacon
½ apple-cut into matchstick size

Dressing:
1 shallot- small dice
1 ½ tsp of white wine vinegar
1 tbsp of white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp of Dijon mustard
½ tsp maple syrup
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper (optional)

Preparation work:
1. Wash and completely dry the Boston lettuce, endive and arugula. Break the Boston lettuce into smaller bite size pieces.
2. Candy the nuts. In a non-stick pan, turn the heat to medium-high, add the sugar. Try to put the sugar as evenly as possible. As the sugar starts melting, add the butter and the nuts and let the sugar caramelize. As the caramel sets, the nuts may be stuck together. Break it apart once it has cooled.
3. In a pan, cook the bacon until crispy. Once slightly cooled, cut them into smaller pieces.
4. Peel and the cut the apples. Squeeze some lemon juice on the apples if you are preparing this in advanced.
5. Prepare the dressing. Cut the shallots. Add all ingredients in the dressing and mix well. I only added black pepper and skipped the salt.

Assembling steps:
1. Mix the greens, nuts, apples and bacon pieces in a large bowl.
2. Pour dressing right before serving. Mix well.

For a healthier option, you can buy roasted nuts, or quickly toast your own, and not candy them. I used a variety of nuts including pecan, almonds, macadamias, and pecans, but you can choose one type of nut as well. You can also skip the bacon. I love bacon and felt it provided a balance to the salad. I love this salad, did I say that already?!

Boston lettuce, Belgium endive and arugula salad

Boston lettuce, Belgium endive and arugula salad

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