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Bacon, Pear and Romaine Lettuce Salad with Blue Cheese Croutons and Apple Cider Vinaigrette

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Bacon, Pear and Romaine Lettuce Salad with Blue Cheese Croutons and Apple Cider Vinaigrette
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SERVES:
4

INGREDIENTS:

8 slices bacon, cooked until crisp

For the vinaigrette:
1 cup apple cider (see procedure below)
3 Tbs finely minced
1 Tbs fresh chopped thyme (optional)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2-3 Tbs apple cider vinegar


16 pieces 1/2-inch thick slices of baguette
approx. 1/3 cup mashed room temperature blue cheese

rough chopped Romaine lettuce as needed

2 ripe medium large pears
black pepper to taste

PROCEDURE:

Get started by crisping up 8 slices of bacon in a large pan on the stove top.

Add 1 cup apple cider to a small, heavy bottomed pot on the stove top and add 3 Tbs finely diced onion and an optional 1 Tbs of fresh chopped thyme and reduce that down on medium high heat to 3 - 4 Tbs of liquid.

While you're keeping your eye on the bacon and apple cider, turn the oven onto the broiler setting and slice some of the baguette into 1/2-inch thick slices, you're looking for 16 pieces total, and lay those out on a baking tray and underneath the broiler to brown.

Then pull the tray back out of oven, flip the bread over and mash the room temperature blue cheese and spread that over the top of each one and then pop the tray back into the oven to brown that side and melt the blue cheese a little bit.

Take the bacon out of the pan when it's nice and crisp and drain it on paper towels and, once the apple cider has reduced down to 3 - 4 Tbs, add it to a large mixing bowl and let it cool down a bit.

At that point add 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 2 - 3 Tbs apple cider vinegar to the apple cider reduction and whisk it up.

Add enough chopped Romaine lettuce for 4 salads to the vinaigrette, add as much cored and thinly sliced pear as you like, add the crumbled crispy bacon and toss everything to combine.

Then divide it up onto individual plates with the blue cheese croutons.

HINTS:

Substitute apples for the pears.

Use regular croutons and crumble blue cheese over the finished salad instead of making the blue cheese croutons.

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