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Wilted Arugula Salad with Asparagus, Bacon, Almonds, and Sherry Vinaigrette

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Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 116

You won’t believe how incredible this simple combination of crunchy almonds, crisp bacon, and tender asparagus and arugula is. It’s a game changer. The arugula will wilt as it sits, though, so serve it right away.

  • 7 oz. (8 strips) bacon, cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed of tough, woody stems, and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 oz. baby arugula
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook the bacon, stirring often, until crisp, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain, leaving the bacon fat in the skillet.

Cook the asparagus in the skillet with the bacon fat, stirring often, until crisp-tender and browned in spots, about 3 minutes. Season with 1/4 tsp. salt and, using a slotted spoon, transfer to the plate with the bacon.  Add the vinegar, olive oil, mustard, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a scant 1/4 tsp. pepper to the fat in the skillet and whisk until combined.

In a large bowl, combine the asparagus, bacon, arugula, and almonds and toss with just enough warm vinaigrette to wilt the arugula. Serve immediately.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 210, Fat (kcal): 15, Fat Calories (g): 140, Saturated Fat (g): 3, Protein (g): 12, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8, Carbohydrates (mg): 9, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 2.5, Sodium (g): 550, Cholesterol (g): 20, Fiber (g): 4,

Photo: Scott Phillips

What a fabulous salad recipe. I made this for my annual formal Christmas dinner party and we all gobbled it up. It's easy and so full of flavor. Very unusual salad. I didn't use all the dressing, it didn't need it. I will make this again and again.

My mom has made this salad for dinner an average of twice a week for the last 3 months or so. I'm not even kidding.

This was very good, but the bacon fat in the dressing was a little too heavy for me. Next time I will probably drain the fat from the pan after doing the asparagus, maybe leave just a little.

Wonderful interplay of tastes and textures and came together very quickly. I used half as much bacon as the recipe called for and it was utterly delicious. I will make this again and again.

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