Nobody looks forward to salads.
But his is one of those salads I genuinely look forward to. Rarely will I ever say I’m looking forward to a salad, but one that incorporates bacon to me is an absolute winner. It pairs pears (pairs pears… que my uncontrollable laughter) with delicious salty, smoky bacon but also incorporates that dense, chewy bite of chestnuts. If you’ve ever been intrigued by those vacuum packed chestnuts in stores, this recipe is the one to try it with.
Full of flavour and so meaty to the chew that you sometimes forget you’re even eating a damn salad, it’s perfect to transcend with you through the seasons. Fresh for summer and cosy for winter, it sticks with me. It also just so happens to be one of the quickest salads to make – minimal chopping – which also makes it a lazy salad, which is fine by me.
Take a big handful of spinach and put into a colander and rinse with cold water. Leave to one side to drain. In a frying pan, melt a small amount of butter before tossing in some smoked lardons. Cook these until they begin to crisps before bursting open your vacuum packed chestnuts and tossing in the pan.
Toss both the bacon and the chestnuts together, using a wooden spoon to press down on the chestnuts to split them as they soften. You want a nice variety of whole chestnuts as well as some bacon-glossed shards. Turn down the heat slightly and allow these to continue cooking while you arrange the salad.
Grab your washed spinach and put into a big plate or a bowl and sprinkle with a little salt. Grab yourself a pear and slice into bite sized pieces. Grab a radish and slice this into thin disks before adding to the spinach and pears. I dive my hands in and toss this manually. Finally, grab your frying pan and toss over your bacon and chestnuts and serve.
If you’re gross like me, I poured any of the chestnut and bacon fat left in the pan over the salad as a bit of a filthy butter nut and bacon dressing but this recipe is also fine without if you want to keep it as virtuous as possible.
But everything is better slathered in pig fat. Just saying.