Arugula Salad with Bacony Croutons and Sherry Vinaigrette Recipe
The South may be known for fried chicken, mac and cheese, and biscuits, but our plates almost always include vegetables, too. Here’s our philosophy: If you’re going to eat healthy, why not make it a little indulgent? Let us introduce you to the most Southern salad you’ll ever meet: Arugula Salad with Bacon-Fat Croutons and Sherry Vinaigrette.
In this dish, which comes together in just around 30 minutes, peppery arugula meets sharp blue cheese, thinly sliced Honeycrisp apple, toasted pecans, and—the pièce de résistance—bacon fat croutons. For these decadent croutons, torn sourdough pieces get tossed in bacon drippings and oven-toasted. We love the tangy flavor and texture that sourdough bread gives these croutons, but you can use any leftover loaf. Tearing the bread rather than cutting it into cubes gives you lots of crags where the bacon fat can pool and crisp.
Homemade sherry dressing, spiked with honey and studded with shallots, takes this salad to the next level. If you don’t have sherry vinegar on hand, you can substitute your favorite type of vinegar—red or white wine, champagne, or balsamic vinegar would all work well. This hearty salad—which has quickly become a Test Kitchen favorite—could stand alone as a lunch or weeknight dinner, but we love serving it as part of a holiday brunch spread.