For the longest time, I've had two slices of bacon in my refrigerator. What can a person possibly do with two pieces of bacon? Seriously.
Well, I was making a basil pesto and pea pasta dish for dinner tonight. I'd already decided to add crumbled bacon to the pasta to add a little crunch and protein and decided that a salad sounded nice (and responsible). However, I only have ranch and bleu cheese dressings - neither of which sounded terribly appetizing. So....homemade dressing it is. Might as well not waste the bacon drippings!
I'd put a little bit of brown sugar on the bacon while it was cooking, so my dressing was a tiny bit sweet. Brown sugar and balsamic go together wonderfully, though, so it worked.
Here's what I did:
1 Tbsp (about) of bacon fat
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp whole grain mustard (I only had horseradish mustard. It was tasty.)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Mix ingredients in a bowl. While whisking, drizzle in olive oil until you have a consistency you want. I used maybe 1/4 cup. Traditional dressings have a 4 to 1 ratio of oil to vinegar, but the bacon fat adds in a little oil, so you might not need as much as you'd think.
The bacon gives enough saltiness, so no need for salt. A little pepper would be ok, but it would probably get lost in the mix of flavors. If you want to add an herb, I'd suggest basil. My friend Melly makes brown sugar basil bacon, so I know those three flavors go together well.
Toss with dark salad greens (this will overwhelm iceberg and probably even romaine. Spinach, arugula, radicchio are good) and serve. I topped with a few bacon crumbles, a good shower of parmesan cheese and chopped red peppers. It was fantastic - even better than the pasta!
To store - put in airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. It will solidify because of the bacon fat, so warm it up or at least bring it to room temp before using. I suspect it would be really good warm.