“In Chinese cuisine, the ancestry and the pride go back thousands of years. When I look for the really worthy cooks of this incredible cuisine, I think about the elderly women of the community, the ones who’ve been perfecting this cuisine every day of their lives—just doing it and doing it well. No fuss, no crap—just real, good food.”
We are preparing for a pretty big winter storm/ice/snow whatever comes our way, here in Coastal Carolina, but today was around 60° and I had time for a good salad, while planning a couple of meals for the coming days.
Sometime last summer I was perusing for a new and different salad for lunch and I happened upon this perky little version of a “Chinese “salad, not your expected soy dressing, but a dressing spiked with fennel seeds lemon and vinegar.
Another surprise ingredient, crispy pork…why bacon of course! I had pecan wood smoked on hand…
Lemon grass, ginger cilantro, common ingredients these days and I did manage to score some real lemongrass/not out of the tube although I think that would be a great substitute, I ended up with mixed greens of spinach arugula and a new to me Zen blend as “mache” is not available at least around here at this time. A delightful salad and this recipe is a lot of salad, so feel free to cut the amounts to what you need to serve.
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ pound thick-cut smoked bacon
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, smashed and finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh lemongrass
1 tablespoon fennel seeds (I did reduce the amount of fennel)
2 cups mixed baby greens
1 cup mâche
½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
½ cup loosely packed baby arugula
4-6 mixed radishes, shaved on a mandoline or sliced into paper-thin discs I love a lot of radishes
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
Add the bacon and cook just until it starts to crackle and turn golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, lemon-grass, and fennel seeds to the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
Remove the pan from the heat and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat. Use a little more for a really big salad, but not to overwhelm. Taste first.
Set the bacon mixture aside to cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, combine the baby greens, mâche, cilantro, arugula, radishes, and lemon zest and juice.
Drizzle with the cider vinegar and rice vinegar and give the salad a gentle toss until thoroughly combined.
Once the bacon mixture has reached room temperature, chop the bacon and add it to the bowl. Scrape the sautéed onion mixture and the fat from the skillet into the bowl. Toss well, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve to a greedy crowd.
PER SERVING: 243 calories, 11 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 19 g total fat (5 g saturated), 24 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 608 mg sodium