The Minneapolis Farmers' Market is open for the season! And even though our last winter was absurdly long and spring is being a bit temperamental, the farmers ever so dutifully strive provide a lot to amuse our taste buds and cooking pleasures. Cheeses, honey, turnips, asparagus, meats, and endless flowers and herbs for planting. The basis for this vinaigrette is some bacon I purchased from meat sellers Bar Five. It's hard to resist a salad with all the intensity of bacon! You can use spring lettuce or baby spinach for this salad. I happen to enjoy the abundance of spring lettuces around these days so it's used here but be sure that, once you toss with the warm vinaigrette, you serve immediately as the tender leaves will wilt more quickly than spinach leaves.
Spring Lettuce Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
Makes 4 servings
4 oz bacon, diced
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 oz red wine vinegar
2 oz vegetable oil
6 to 8 oz fresh spring lettuce leaves
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup croutons
1. Render the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove and reserve the bacon bits and add the sugar to the bacon fat; blend to dissolve.
2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vinegar and oil to form an emulsion; season with salt.
3. Toss the lettuce, cranberries, diced pepper, croutons, reserved bacon, and vinaigrette. Serve immediately.