Yin & Tang Bacon Salad

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6 simple ingredients come together in this recipe to balance the health of bacon and greens; the sweetness of agave nectar with the perfect sour of balsamic; and the spice of freshly ground pepper with the earthy-green of a fresh olive oil. This is an original recipe that came to mind not out of flavor-thought-experiments, but because I’m leaving for the weekend and needed to rid myself of 2 foods most likely to spoil before I return. In the end we get a light salad that is both sweet, sour, meaty, spicy and relatively healthy. As long as you can quickly fry up some bacon and chop up some romaine hearts you’re good to go!

Ingredients

– 1 romaine heart (to make 1 dinner salad or 2 side salads)

– 5-10 strips of bacon (depending on cardiac health)

– Coarse ground black pepper

– Agave Nectar (Tequila’s straight-edge nephew)

– Balsamic vinegar

– Good Olive Oil (should taste very green, have a spicy bite, I always recommend a Coratina)

Instructions

Wash and cut up the romaine heart. I usually do this by copping transversely from the tip of the leaves to the stem in 1 inch cuts. Then slicing laterally 3 times. This usually gives a solid mix of variably sized small pieces. Toss these in a large bowl to wait until your bacon is done.

Lay the slices of bacon in a large pan over medium-high heat. drizzle about a tablespoon of agave nectar as evenly as you can over the bacon strips. Then heavily pepper the pan. When the fat starts to turn clear you can flip the slices over. Cook until you’ve reached the crispiness you want. I opted for chew over crisp, but I’m sure either would be great. Remove them from the pan and let the fat drain off on a paper towel-covered plate.

Chop up all but 2 slices of the bacon, because let’s face it, you already ate those while you were waiting for the rest to cool. Over the bed of greens, drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil followed by as much balsamic as you like! Now, add your bacon bits to the top, and sprinkle more pepper over it to taste. Toss the whole thing after you take a nice picture for your Instagram and then dig in.

If you want to pair a wine, I always suggest a red, but in this case I think you definitely want one that is dry to mild. I’ve been drinking a lot of the limited release Apothic Dark because last winter I thought they stopped making it, but it magically reappeared on Target shelves a couple weeks ago. But given the salad’s spicy sweetness and smoky bacon I think a dry red is perfect! Happy eating!