Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Salad with Chocolate Balsamic Dressing and Chocolate Covered Bacon!!

Wowza. Did you check that title? This one's a little crazy, but very fun...and delicious, I would add. I had a dinner party to go to the other night in which we all had to bring food that had one of two 'secret' ingredients: Chocolate or Citrus. Naturally, I had to bring something with chocolate in it.

I thought this dressing was delicious, especially when paired with a yummy salad. Really, just delicious. It's such a great flavor, perfectly tangy, yet just sweet enough. And we all know you can't go wrong with strawberries and balsamic. Plus, when you serve something like salad with chocolate dressing and chocolate covered bacon, you've already got 10 minutes worth of conversation right there, so, that adds to its luster.

I need to emphasize here that in the case of this dressing, I think a salad with some sort of goat cheese and fresh mint is crucial to really making this dressing pop and having people say, "wow, what is this??" Just fyi.

Moving along. The idea of chocolate covered bacon is not an Alicia original. I was introduced to it in this recipe, which I thought was desperately lacking altogether. Since I had a bunch of chocolate covered bacon left over from it, I started searching for ideas to use up the scores of chocolate covered bacon I had leftover. As it turns out, chocolate covered bacon has a serious following on the internet! Some people even go so far as to drizzle it with white chocolate, dress it with a bow and give it as gifts! While it's not my cup of tea, I still found it interested. So, since the idea of chocolate covered bacon seemed intriguing, and I had some left over from the above recipe, I figured I'd try it out on this salad.

Now, you should know that I am not a fan of bacon. In fact, my husband had to show me where it was located in the store and has since coached me in how to cook it over the years (because when I cook it I rarely, if ever, eat it, so I never really know what is "good" bacon). However, I thought that, covered in chocolate, it was pretty good on the salad. If you want a vegetarian alternative, I think you could maybe do chocolate covered salted nuts or seeds of some sort (cashews or pumpkin seeds come to mind, but I'm sure others would be good, too).

All in all, I'd give the dressing 5 stars. Don't put too much on or it's too strong. But in the right amount, it just sings. The chocolate covered bacon is more of a fun touch, but since I don't really love bacon, I don't think I'm a really good rater for that. I will say, it ranks as 5 stars in the conversation piece category!

Enjoy! Recipe for the dressing found here and below. I've converted the metric portions to cups and ounces here, so please note that they are approximate. For instructions on how to make chocolate dipped bacon, see this recipe and just follow the portion of directions for the chocolate dipped bacon.

Chocolate Balsamic Dressing


1/2 Cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 Cup white sugar
3-4 oz Dark chocolate (70% Cacao or higher)


To make the dressing: Place balsamic vinegar in a saucepan, add sugar and dissolve over a gentle heat. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate. Leave to cool at room temperature. Do not refrigerate or dressing will solidify.

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