This salad is dying to be your Monday night dinner.
It is a little high maintenance in the salad world, but definitely doable on a weeknight, especially if you give yourself a hand and do some prep ahead of time.
Nothing too crazy, just roasting some nuts. It's a great mid-morning project, but you will have to hide them somewhere secret if they are going to make it until dinner time. Or maybe you are better at restraint than I am. I have a small problem with spiced nuts, I just cannot help myself. Even when I know they have been sitting in that street vendor's glass heater for a solid eighteen hours I just have to get that warm cone of happiness in my hands.
This was my first experience with spiced hazelnuts, and they did not disappoint. I could absolutely have eaten this entire pan by myself.
I love the sweet, spicy crunch they added to this salad, which is really just a menagerie of all my favorite things.
Fried potatoes, bacon, apples, crumbled stilton, and, of course, the hazelnuts, all covered in a warm, bacon vinaigrette. So many wonderful things and we still get to feel good about our choices because hey, it's a salad!
I love making this salad on weeknights because it is so hearty and filling. Typically, I do not go much for meatless meals (I don't think bacon counts as meat), but I love making this for dinner! The potatoes really make it feel like a full meal.
This recipe can totally be tailored to your tastes. I make different variations on this same salad depending on what I have in the house. Trade the apples for pears or exchange the hazelnuts for pecans - it's all up to you!
Just please make the spiced nuts. You need them in your life, you really do.
Autumn Salad with Fried Potatoes and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
Cook's Note: If you are planning on serving this as a main dish, it will generously serve four. As a side, it can stretch to serve six to eight.
for the spiced hazelnuts
(recipe adapted from Deb at Smitten Kitchen)
- 1/2 lb roasted, unsalted hazelnuts
- 1 large egg white
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium mixing bowl combine egg white and water and beat with an electric mixer until frothy and thick, but not stiff. Fold the hazelnuts into the egg white mixture and stir to coat.
In a small bowl, combine sugars, salt, and spices. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the hazelnuts and stir to coat.
Spread the nuts evenly over the prepared baking sheet and bake for thirty minutes, stirring every ten minutes. Allow the nuts to cool completely and break up any that have stuck together. Store in an airtight container or zip-top bag.
for the salad
Cook's Note: I prefer to make individual salads so that everyone gets a bit of everything, but you could just as easily toss everything together and serve family style.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch cubes
- 8 cups mixed greens
- 2 crisp apples (I used Winesap), cut into cubes
- 1 cup crumbled cranberry stilton, crumbled*
- 1 cup spiced hazelnuts
- chopped bacon
- bacon vinaigrette
*Cook's Note: I buy my cranberry stilton at Trader Joe's but I have seen it at other grocery stores as well. If you cannot find it, you could use a blue stilton here or even crumbled feta.
Place a large, nonstick sauté pan over medium high heat and heat olive oil until shimmering.
Add the potatoes and kosher salt and cook, stirring often, until the potatoes are deep golden and crisp; about 15-20 minutes. (You may wish to begin preparing the ingredients for the vinaigrette during this time.)
Divide the greens amongst four bowls or place in one large salad bowl. Top with the warm, fried potatoes, apples, stilton, hazelnuts, and chopped bacon. Drizzle with the warm bacon vinaigrette and serve immediately. Enjoy!
for the bacon vinaigrette
- 6 slices bacon, diced
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Cook's Note: I recommend making the bacon vinaigrette last so that it will still be warm when you serve the salad.
Place bacon in a medium frying pan and cook over medium high heat until crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the pan, reserving the drippings. Add the cooked bacon to the salad.
Pour the rendered bacon fat into a jar and add mustard, salt, pepper, and lemon juice; whisk to combine. Add the olive oil and top the jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake until the vinaigrette is smooth and homogenous.