Bacon Vinaigrette. There aren’t many things that sound more awesome than that. I’m sure I’ve come across this at a restaurant before, but I certainly had never made such a thing before. With a crisper drawer full of golden and red beets, and a package of uncooked bacon, I needed to find something to bring them together. I came across a great blog called Blackberries and Blood Oranges. The recipes are great and the photography makes everything look even more awesome. One of the recipes was for a roasted beet salad with walnuts, tarragon and bacon vinaigrette. Since I didn’t have all of what was included, I opted to change it up some. I nixed the nuts, swapped in thyme and used two kinds of beets. The result was a delicious salad that would be a great lunch with a chicken breast, or on top of arugula.
Based on recipe from Blackberries and Blood orange
2 bunches of beets (golden and/or red), roasted – See method below, can be done a day ahead
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
½ pound (about 6 slices) of good bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons, thyme, removed from stem and chopped
Roasted Beets (can be done a day ahead):
Preheat your oven to 450. If beets still have stems, remove stem, leaving the very bottom part attached. Wrap every 2-3 beets in tinfoil, ensuring it is fully closed. I needed 3 pouches worth. It is best to wrap similar sized beets together. Place pouches into a rimmed baking dish or sheet and roast for 45-1 hours, depending on the size of the beets. They are ready when a fork can easily pierce the center of the beet.
Let beets cool in foil. When cool, working in sink to avoid staining, use your fingers to pull off the skins. If they are fully cooked, skins should slide off. Use a paring knife for any tough spots. Place beets in a bowl with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside until you are ready to prepare the rest of the salad
In a medium saute pan over medium heat, cook the bacon pieces until crisp. Remove from pan and place on paper-towel lined plate.
Return pan to low heat, add garlic to the bacon fat and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add vinegar and cook for another minute or two. Remove from heat and stir in mustard and thyme. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour dressing over beets and toss to combine. Season with any additional salt or pepper to taste. Serve over arugula or as a side.