Warm bacon dressing
- 1lb bacon
- Lard or oil of choice
- Couple stems of fresh thyme (or a generous pinch of dry)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 small onion
- 1 dry cayenne
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Slice across the length of the bacon into half inch pieces, place in a smallish sauce pan, and cook over medium until well browned.
Remove from the pan, straining into a heat proof bowl. Set the bacon aside, and return the fat to the saucepan, I add lard or coconut oil, to bring the quantity up to a cup of fat. Return the pan to the stove over relatively high heat.
Slice the onion into rounds, about 1/8th-1/4 inch, and peel and slice the garlic. When you see a wisp of smoke over the pan, gently add the sliced onions.
Fry vigorously for just a minute or so, hoping to achieve substantial browning on the surface, while leaving the onion with a little crunchy texture.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the onion, add the garlic to the pan, and turn it off.
Remove the thyme from the stem, if fresh, run a knife through it once just to break everything up a bit, and add it to the cooling oil in the pan. I break up a cayenne, maybe give it a bit of a chop, removing seeds as possible, and add that to the cooling pan, totally optional.
Once the oil is settled, but still somewhat hot, add the balsamic, and season generously with salt. Black pepper if you must. Freedom is key here. Add the seasonings you find appealing.
When ready to serve, return the dressing to the stove, over low heat, and assemble your salad. Spinach leaves, the now cooled onions, I like a bit of thinly sliced carrot, the cooked bacon, a little sweet citrus is good, whatever appeals. Sliced apples or pears shingled below the spinach can make for a beautiful, and delicious presentation.
I like a little fresh cheese on this, but aged would work, for sure. I might make buttermilk cheese, fromage blanc, or queso fresco, or I might just buy a nice piece of feta.