Can we all agree that if there’s a substantial amount of leafy greens on a plate then it is by definition a salad? Bacon all over it? Still a salad. Generous fistfuls of crusty golden croutons (that have been fried up in hot bacon-y fat? STILL A SALAD. Just because there’s no spirulina powder or marinated tofu or vegan-mayo-dressing doesn’t mean that we still can’t celebrate the fact that we are indeed having salad for dinner.
It’s delicious, hearty, crunchy, filling — with hot and cold elements of various green things that are good for us. It’s safe to say that Julia Child would approve of this salad. And I do not boldly take the name of Julia Child in vain.
All the elements of this salad love each other. Deeply. The brussels and bacon are a match made in heaven. Chicken lends its savory heft, while green apples and the herb-y mustard-y dressing keep everything bright and punchy. And it’s topped off with salty hot fried bread bits and a few shaves of Parmesan — because we deserve to be happy.
Honey Mustard Brussels and Bacon Salad
- 2 LB Brussels sprouts halved
- 1 LB Bacon chopped (see instructions)
- 4 cups cubed Ciabatta (1/2" or so) or other good crusty bread
- 2 green Apples diced
- 1-2 cups leftover roast Chicken
- 6-8 cups mixed leafy Greens
for the sprouts:
- 2 Shallots diced
- 2 Garlic cloves diced
- 1 Anchovy smashed
- 1/2 tsp Hot Mustard Powder
- 1/2 Lemon
for the dressing: (this makes extra! Always better to have too much dressing than too little..)
- 1/3 cup Spicy Mustard whole grain preferable but whatever
- 1/3 cup Honey
- 1/3 cup Olive Oil good quality
- 1.5 Lemons juiced
- 5 sprigs Oregano or Thyme
- Hot Sauce to taste
Preheat oven to 425*. Set a large frying pan over med-high heat and crisp up all the bacon...now will you need an entire pound of bacon for this salad? No, buuuttt what is the point in frying less than a pound of bacon! So just cook it up and add the leftovers to pasta or eggs or whatever. Or just munch on the extra, I don't care.
With a slotted spoon remove all the lovely bacon bits from the pan onto a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. On a sturdy baking sheet toss the brussels with the garlic and shallot. Season well with salt and pepper and mustard powder. Sprinkle the anchovy bits among everything, then drizzle a friendly amount of bacon grease over it all. (Don't use all of it and don't wash the pan.) Give it a good shake so everything's well distributed. Chuck it in the oven on the upper rack and set your timer for 15 minutes.
While the brussels are roasting, prepare the dressing. Whisk the first three ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl until well emulsified. Add the lemon juice, the leaves of the herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Splash in some hot sauce for a kick of heat. Set aside.
This salad looks particularly gorgeous on a giant platter to serve family style. You can start assembling the plate now - spread the greens out on the bottom, sprinkle the diced apple and whatever amount of bacon you deem reasonable. Add the leftover chicken. (If you want the chicken hot by all means re-heat it. It's good either way!)
Get the same bacon pan searing hot again and add a nub of butter or preferred oil if there's not a lot of bacon fat left. Dump the cubed bread in and toss quickly so that the croutons all get some lovin'. Season with a little salt and pepper. Crisp for 5-7 minutes or until everything is golden and beautiful. Turn off heat.
Check the brussels at the 15 min mark. Toss to prevent over-browning and bake for another 5 minutes or so or until they are nice and crispy. Remove from oven and let cool a quick minute. Squeeze the last lemon half over the sprouts.
Once the brussels and croutons are done -- finish assembling the salad! Spoon the brussels on top and scatter the croutons. Swirl as much dressing on as you'd like, add a few shaves of Parmesan, and serve.
This salad is best eaten straight away so you have the nice contrast of the hot crispy sprouts and croutons with the cool fresh greens and sharp apple.