Oh goodness gracious! One of my girlfriends knows how much I L-O-V-E the Pig Candy from Lou’s restaurant. It is phenomenal. Perfectly crisp but won’t shatter your teeth covered in a light layer of caramelization with the right amount of spicy kick. So last week, she emails me this recipe for a Bacon Brittle and Kale Salad. That set in motion plans for a special dinner for the Hubby and I. We both love bacon. I don’t know why I just lower-cased that. We LOVE bacon. So much so that we requested a Bacon cookbook on our wedding registry.
After reviewing the recipe for the Bacon and Kale Salad, I started thinking of what type of wine would pair well and what type of entree would compliment such a salad. Long story short, I found a recipe for a Cabernet Blue Cheese Bacon Sirloin Burger with Herbed Mayonnaise on a Toasted Onion Roll. Yup, you read that correctly. Cabernet. Blue Cheese. Bacon. Sirloin. Burger. My mouth salivates every time I say it or write it. Instant reaction.
This meal was awesome. While I focused on the salad and brittle portion. The Hubby focused on the burgers and the bacon on the grill pan. (By the by, this grill pan was quite the hassle to convince the Hubby to buy a few months ago for my Eggplant Timbale recipe. As he stated last week while cooking on said grill pan, “It pains me that I’m actually using something I thought you’d never use.” Haha. I win.)
Results of the Salad: I definitely need to practice with the bacon britle as I felt it was a little too caramelized. Not quite “burnt.” But definitely on its way there. So, poor us, we’ll be having more bacon brittle in the coming months. Raw kale is a first for me and it was interesting. Not bad interesting. Just something to which I’ll have to get used. The Aged Irish White Cheddar Cheese is such a strong flavor that I was impressed with how balanced it felt combined with the kale and spiced bacon brittle. Given the simplicity of the dressing, and of the salad itself, you really can taste each flavor and not feel overwhelmed with each bite.
Results of the Burger: Just wow! It honestly felt as if I was eating at Stout or some other artisan burger joint. Next time, I’ll just purchase regular ground beef–no need to break the bank every time with the sirloin. Surprise surprise! Cooking with a $3.99 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon worked out quite well. (Shout out to Ralphs Grocery store for offering such a well-priced bottle of wine with which to cook) Note: the bottle was great to cook with, not necessarily one I would choose intentionally to drink again. Next time, I’ll grab a bottle of Justin Isoscoles to pair with our dinner!
I hope you enjoy the pics of the salad and then the burger!
Bacon Brittle and Kale Salad (Original Recipe-no modifications- from the Tasting Table)
Servings: 4, Cooking Time: 15 min. (with cooling of brittle, add another 15 min.), Preparation Time: 15 min.
- 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
- 6 bacon strips, finely diced (about ½ cup)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 15 turns freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or red pepper flakes)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 head lacinato kale–tough ribs removed, leaves stacked and thinly sliced crosswise into ribbons
- 1 medium red apple, sliced into ¼-inch thick matchsticks
- 1 cup crumbled aged white cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup bacon brittle
1. Make the brittle: Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and brown in the hot oil, stirring often, until very crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or spatula to transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate.
2. Melt the sugar over medium heat in a medium saucepan. After about 6 minutes, it will start to turn mahogany brown around the edges; at this point, gently tilt the pan back and forth to move the sugar around. Use a heat-safe rubber spatula to slowly push the melted sugar toward the center of the pan; do this only two or three times (do not stir the sugar). Once there are only two or three patches of unmelted sugar left, turn off the heat and stir in the black pepper, Aleppo pepper, salt, baking soda and crisp bacon.
3. Pour the sugar mixture out onto a Silpat-lined baking sheet (I used parchment paper); moving quickly, use a spatula to spread it as thinly as possible, about ¼- to 1/8-inch thick, before the sugar cools. Set aside to cool completely, then chop into small bits. Set ¼ cup aside for the salad and place the rest in an airtight container for another use (it will last a few days).
4. Make the salad: Toss the kale, apple and cheddar together in a large salad bowl. Whisk the oil and vinegar together, add salt and pepper to taste and pour over the kale, mixing to combine. Add the bacon brittle, toss again and serve.
Original Recipe for the Cabernet Blue Cheese Bacon Sirloin Burger with Herbed Mayonnaise on a Toasted Roll (with my comments)
Servings: 6, Cooking Time: 6-10 min., Preparation Time: 45 min.
- 1/2 lb. thick sliced pepper bacon, diced 1/4″ (I used regular bacon and added ground pepper on top of the bacon slices.)
- 2 Tbsp. bacon fat
- 1 cup sweet onion, diced 1/4″
- 2 Tbsp. fresh garlic, chopped fine
- 2 cups Cabernet Sauvignon (I purchased a bottle for under $5 and it worked well!)
- 2 lbs. ground sirloin
- 1/2 lb. Maytag bleu cheese (I used Amish Blue Cheese that I found at Ralphs)
- 6 each large onion rolls
- Herbed Mayonnaise:
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. capers, drained and chopped
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Cabernet Blue Cheese Bacon Sirloin Burger.
- Fry the bacon in a dry pan until crisp. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels.
- Discard all but 2 Tbsp. of the fat. Sauté the onion in the reserved bacon fat until just beginning to brown.
- Add the garlic and cook until the onion is well browned.
- Add the wine and cook until there is very little liquid left.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
- Mix bacon and cooled onion mix into the ground sirloin.
- Separate into 6 equal portions and form into patties about 1/2″ thick.
- Grill over high heat about three minutes per side to medium doneness.
- Top with bleu cheese and cover to melt the cheese. (If that doesn’t work well, the Hubby created an Aluminum Foil “plate,” placed it on the Grill Pan and let the cheese melt on the “plate.” When it was ready, he just slid the melted cheese onto each burger.)
- While cheese is melting, place the buns under the broiler and toast them to golden. (We placed them on the Grill Pan to get toasted.)
- Combine all ingredients and chill thoroughly.
- Spread 1 1/2 Tbsp. herbed mayonnaise on each half of each of the buns. I like to use a slice of ripe tomato and some shredded iceberg lettuce (I know, some will laugh at the lettuce, but I like it). (I didn’t use any lettuce. Just the tomato was perfect!)
- Top with the cooked patties…and enjoy