Friday, October 25, 2013

Sampling Some 5280 Pork: Mom's Wilted Salad

Last March I had the pleasure of writing a guest post for Barb at CREATIVE CULINARY. I was really excited about this particular post because not only was I able to help out a friend and fellow blogger, but I was also getting to craft a delicious recipe using a great quality Colorado product.

For that particular recipe, Ty Gates, owner and operator of 5280 Land and Cattle Company, which works under the 5280 BEEF and 5280 Pork labels, furnished me with some of his all natural beef from his family owned ranch in Meeker, Colorado.

MY RECIPE FOR BRAISED SHORT RIBS IN SWEET AND SOUR PORTER SAUCE really turned out to be everything that I hoped it would be, and the star of the show, those short ribs, were some of the best I've every had. Thoughtfully raised with integrity and sensitivity towards animal welfare, 5280 Beef is a delicious product that you can feel good about eating.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. Ty contacted me once again, offering me a sample of his 5280 Pork. Of course being a pork lover, I gladly accepted his offer and met him at his scheduled pick up point in my area.

Raised in the same manner as the beef, 5280 Pork comes from free-range Hampshire/Yorkshire blended pigs that are fed a vegetarian diet and are allowed to forage on native plants and grasses in a stress free environment.  The meat from these pigs is always free from added growth hormones, antibiotics or steroids.

My sample box had a nice assortment of bacon (how did he know?), breakfast sausage and some gorgeous pork chops.  The chops were beautifully marbled, the bacon was lean with the perfect amount of fat for great flavor, and the breakfast sausage was nicely seasoned with just a spark of spice at the end.

Even though it seemed to me that this assortment was trying tell me something, I felt like I can do breakfast anytime. After much thought I decided to use this beautiful bacon in a dish that I have been looking for a reason to make for sometime now.

When I was a kid, my mom used to make this great 1960's wilted salad every now and then. We absolutely loved it because it had lots of bacon, and since she was awesome, she would always fry a couple of extra slices for me and my sister to enjoy on top of our salads. Besides the occasional BLT or breakfast for dinner, bacon at night didn't happen all that often, so this was an extra special treat.

I've added a few fall ingredients to my mom's recipe to make this a more seasonal offering than what she used to make, but one thing I'll never change is frying an extra couple of slices for my kids, because I'm awesome too.

Want to order some of this quality, thoughtfully raised pork or beef for yourself? For more information about 5280 Beef, 5280 Pork, prices, and ordering, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

Mom's Wilted Salad

I've jazzed up my mom's original recipe by adding the apples, pecans and bleu cheese to make it a bit heartier for the fall weather.  Whether you like my heartier version or want to serve it with just eggs and onion like my mom's, be sure to make this salad right before you want to serve it, as the dressing is at its best warm.

4 slices of thick cut bacon (oh well, make 5 so you have one to eat while you are cooking)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic or 1 medium size garlic clove, crushed
4 - 6 cups of mixed salad greens (I threw some iceberg in for old times sake)
2 boiled eggs (peeled and sliced)
1/4 of a small red onion, very thinly sliced into rings
1/3 cup coarsely chopped and toasted pecans
1 medium size Fuji apple, sliced or chopped into chunks (your preference)
2 heaping tablespoons bleu cheese crumbles

Fry bacon in a large frying pan over medium high heat until golden brown and crispy.  Remove bacon from the pan and transfer to a plate to cool.

While the bacon is frying, place the salad greens, eggs, onion, pecans and apple in a large salad bowl; set aside.

Leave approximately 2 tablespoons of the drippings in the pan, discarding the rest.  Reduce the heat under the frying pan to low.  To the drippings, stir in the sugar, vinegar, mustard and garlic.  Stir well to combine. Pour the hot contents over the salad greens in the bowl.  Toss well to coat the salad.

Transfer to serving plates.  Sprinkle with desired amounts of the cheese.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4

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