Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Apple Pecan Salad with Cinnamon Bread Croutons

So in my house, pretty much anything bacon gets the thumbs up, and this salad is no exception!  I borrowed this recipe from Lynette's famous blog (thanks Lynette!)
 I recommend adding some grated smoked gouda cheese, which seemed to go really well with the apples and bacon. We had it with the super-easy peasant bread.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups cinnamon swirl bread, cut into 1" cubes
6 strips bacon, diced
1/3 cup apple juice concentrate
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste
1/4 cups pecans or  walnuts, chopped, toasted
2 cups apples (your favorite variety) thinly sliced
2 head butter lettuce, torn (or mixed greens)

Pre-heat oven to 500º. Put a pat of  butter in a 9x13 pan, stick it in the oven just till it melts.  Add bread cubes, stir to coat, and bake until toasted, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often.  Transfer croutons to a bowl and set aside. (I didn't have cinnamon swirl bread so I used white bread dusted w. cinn.)

Saute bacon until crisp, then drain on a paper towel lined plate.  Pour off and reserve 1 tablespoon drippings.

Whisk drippings, juice concentrate, oil, vinegar, cinnamon, mustard, salt, pepper, and cayenne together in a bowl.  Stir in pecans (or walnuts).

Toss apple slices, lettuce, bacon, and croutons with vinaigrette in a large bowl to coat, sprinkle with salt.

*Cook's Note: Whenever I make a tossed salad, all the good fixin's land at the bottom, so to serve it I toss in one bowl, then dump it into a second to get all that good stuff on the top!

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