Here I go again talking about the weather, but for me it really plays a role in what I will serve for our meals. We had a tease of cool temperatures over the weekend, but that was short lived and it's warm again. With the cusp of Fall around the corner, I wanted to enjoy the flavors that the season has to offer in a refreshing meal that won't heat up my kitchen.
Smoked turkey, crisp apples, bacon, and a simple blue cheese vinaigrette come together to satisfy my seasonal taste buds. I take it a few ingredients further by adding shallots, which help balance all the sweet and savory flavors. I also enjoy the addition of dried cranberries and toasted pecans (more seasonal flavors) to round out the salad, but you can certainly omit them or do as I do and serve them in bowls and allow your family and/or guests to serve themselves.
Serve it for lunch or as light dinner with a basket of hot buttered biscuits, or a batch of sweet cornbread. I can hear the leaves rustling now....
Chopped Salad with Turkey, Bacon, and Apples
3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup neutral oil, like Safflower or Canola oil
2 1/2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 medium shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces thick-cut deli smoked turkey breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
2 Romaine hearts, cored and chopped
2 Honey Crisp apples, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup toasted pecans (optional)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
In a large bowl, mash together half of the cheese, oil, vinegar, shallot, and sugar until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the lettuce, apples, turkey, bacon, parsley and remaining cheese to bowl with dressing and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with pecans and cranberries if using or serve on the side. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from America's Test Kitchen: 30-Minute Suppers, Winter 2010