Monday, September 1, 2008

Iron Chef Bacon & "Layered Salad"

In my little corner of LA we like to party. Our street is pretty special in that you get more than a couple of us together and we wind up putting together a party. It has been like that for as long a I can remember. One of our favorites of the last few years is "Iron Chef Night". We work it out more than a few different ways. Sometimes we do themes like "Provence", English Pub, Thai etc.,. Other times we do ingredients like pumpkin, peaches or cinnamon. We get a lot of great food and then move into a really good time with the neighbors.

This weekend we can attribute our Iron Chef night to my cousin Paul (two doors up from me) for the ingredient. It started with a conversation over more than a few bottles wine after an evening at a local wine bar. When he was living back east in Jersey he and his roommates joked about "man candles" or candles with scents guys would appreciate more than the frou-frou florally stuff. Bacon was their number one candle idea. We got to laughing and decided Bacon had to be our next Iron Chef night ingredient. After all who doesn't like crispy, salty pork product?

I remember my Ma used to make at Thanksgiving all the time this layered salad that I just loved that included a lot of bacon in it. I remember it coming from the mid-70's, but it wasn't something we got much as only the two of us would eat it, my Pop and other Sibs didn't do cauliflower so it didn't make sense to make it unless there was a crowd or a special occasion with guests to help eat it up.

After looking at the original recipe, that was sadly missing quantities I figured I might as well update it a little. This was going to be for a competition so I had to make it a good one.

Mom's Layered Salad
2 inches chopped lettuce
next layer 1 small box of frozen peas
next fresh cauliflower cut into little pieces
next a layer of chopped bacon crisp fried or bacos
1/2 pkg Great Beginnings garlic salad dressing mix sprinkled over last layer
Layer of real mayonnaise over the top to seal. Refrigerate 24 hours. Toss before serving

Bacon Layered Salad

1 small head iceberg lettuce chopped
10 oz frozen peas - thawed and separated
1 small head cauliflower
1/2 small red onion thinly sliced
1 1/2 c grape tomatoes - halved
1 1/2 c bacon chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 c miracle whip
1/2 package 7 Seas Zesty Italian salad mix
1 1/2 t smoked paprika

fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 c chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Chop lettuce and put into the bottom of a straight sided bowl. Pour lemon juice over the lettuce and toss lightly to distribute. Add fresh cracked pepper to taste.

Cut Cauliflower into small florets. Toss with smoked paprika in a small bowl then spread in even layer over the lettuce. Sprinkle chopped parsley evenly over the cauliflower.

Add peas. Add layer of bacon bits. Sprinkle salad dressing mix over the bacon. Carefully spread the Miracle Whip over the top of the bacon. Arrange tomatoes cut side down. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Toss just before serving.

Make life easy.....use a mandolin for the thin onion slice layer

chop lettuce in bite sized pieces

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