Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bacon, Mushroom, and Arugula Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

During the summer there has been a free workout in a park every Wednesday in a park near my office. In addition to a pretty rigorous workout, they also hand out gobs of free stuff. I have received t-shirts, hand sanitizer, Chap Stick, a workout video with the woman from the Biggest Loser, and mints, among other things. A couple of weeks ago they handed out coupons for a restaurant called Freshii.

I went with some coworkers and ordered a salad. It had red onions, mushrooms, blue cheese, tomatoes, and bacon with balsamic vinaigrette. It was good and uncomplicated; I decided to recreate it at home. I have eaten this salad every day for lunch for a week, and it was satisfying for the whole week.

I added pecans and used arugula. I think the restaurant used romaine lettuce in their salad, but I’m not sure. I like the strong, peppery flavor of arugula. I think it stands up better against the other strong flavors of the salad. I also used Parmesan cheese instead of blue cheese, because I already had it in my fridge.

The ingredients for the dressing are ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, and ½ teaspoon of salt. The other ingredients for the salad are arugula, tomatoes, cooked turkey bacon, white mushrooms, red onion, Parmesan cheese, and coarsely chopped pecans.

I whisked the balsamic vinegar and mustard together. I could have added the salt at this time, but I forgot and added it after the extra virgin olive oil.

I slowly added and whisked the extra virgin olive oil into the vinegar. Unsurprisingly, olive oil comes from pressing olives. Extra virgin olive oil is from the first pressing, which must be done within a day of harvesting the olives. Another source said "virgin" indicates the oil was extracted from pressing and not from chemicals or extreme temperatures. After it has the vinegar and oil emulsified, I added the salt.

The salad began with a bed of arugula leaves.

I added chopped tomatoes, mushrooms, and red onions.

I added two slices of cubed turkey bacon and pecans and shaved on several slivers of Parmesan cheese.

Last of all, I drizzled on some vinaigrette. So colorful, light, and fresh! This salad has so many great flavors, and they all blend well together. This might be a stretch, but it feels like a fall salad because of it's strong, rich flavors.

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