Savannah Salad Recipe
Savannah is a town defined by tidal flats and known for what they call “Low Country boils,” the regional version of seafood gumbo. This salad captures the nature of that classic dish with plenty of pork flavoring courtesy of the bacon in the salad and the dressing, and a healthy dose of grilled shrimp. We’ve added some interesting elements like pecans that give the salad plenty of Southern spark, but the flavors will work at any table where hungry people gather. This salad is rich and hearty as can be, and is one of those perfect barbecue starters that teases the palate with shades of the main course flavors, while still delivering plenty of satisfaction all on its own.
¼ pound slab bacon, trimmed
⅔ cup pecan halves
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 small head iceberg lettuce, cored and coarsely chopped
½ cup arugula
½ cup watercress
⅔ cup crumbled blue cheese
⅔ cup thinly sliced red onions
6 grilled shrimp (here)
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of cracked black pepper
Hot Bacon Vinaigrette
5 slices smoked bacon
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
3 tablespoons chopped scallions
2 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ cup olive oil
½ cup rendered bacon fat
Kosher salt, to taste
Cracked black pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Cut the bacon for the lardons into ¾-inch cubes. Spread on a small sheet pan and bake until browned, at least half the fat has rendered (become liquid), and the bacon is crispy. Retain the bacon fat for the dressing, and let the lardons cool to room temperature.
- Increase the oven temperature to 350°F.
- Toast the pecans for 5 minutes. Remove to a small mixing bowl, add the honey, and toss. Remove to a clean mixing bowl, add the confectioners’ sugar, and toss until evenly coated.
- Toss the pecans with the rest of the salad ingredients, except for the lardons and dressing, in a large salad or mixing bowl.
- Cut the bacon for the dressing into ½-inch pieces and sauté in a medium pan over medium-high heat. When crisp, remove and pat dry and reserve the fat to use with the lardon fat, for the dressing.
- Add the garlic, shallots, and scallions for the dressing to the same pan and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Combine the sautéed vegetables, blue cheese, mustard, vinegar, and sugar in a mixing bowl and blend with an immersion blender (or use a food processor) until smooth.
- Combine the bacon fat with the olive oil in a measuring cup, and pour in a thin stream into the vegetable mix while blending. Fold in the bacon pieces and add salt and pepper, as desired.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Serve the salad garnished with the bacon lardons.