serves 4 to
5 strips applewood smoked bacon
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup cubed ciabatta-style bread (1/2-inch cubes)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon plus a pinch freshly ground black pepper
2 medium shallots, finely minced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 1/2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 pound purslane, tips and larger leaves only (5 to 6 cups loosely packed), cleaned
Position rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350º. Place the bacon in a cold sauté pan over medium heat. Slowly cook the bacon until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes, turning once. Remove the bacon with tongs or a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Take 1 teaspoon of the bacon fat and put it in a small bowl. Leave the remaining bacon fat in the pan to finish the salad. (There should be about 2 tablespoons.) Slice the bacon strips into 1/4-inch pieces. Set aside.
Whisk 1 tablespoon of the oil into the bacon fat in the bowl. Add the bread cubes, tossing to coat evenly with the oil and bacon fat. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the pinch of pepper. Spread the bread in a single layer on another baking sheet and bake until crisp and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the bacon fat in the sauté pan and place over medium heat. When the fat mixture is hot but not smoking, add the shallots and garlic and cook until tender and softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in the vinegar, mustard, sugar, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. When the mixture is hot and bubbling, add the purslane. Stir quickly to coat the greens evenly with the dressing and just warm them. This should take no more than 30 seconds, or the purslane will start to lose its fresh, tender crunch. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle with some of the bacon and croutons. Serve immediately.
bacon recipe courtesy of: The Wild Table: Seasonal Foraged Food and Recipes by Connie Green and Sarah Scott, 2010 | CUESA: Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture, One Ferry Building, Suite 50, San Francisco, California 94111