Saturday, January 29, 2011

That's a Wrap

The other day someone told me that I was obsessed with scarves. This may be true. When reorganizing my closet, I had to finally move my scarves from the overflowing hanger and dedicate a separate shelf for them. This colorful, folded pile of fabric begs for me to sift through it and wrap one around myself to top off my daily wardrobe. They are fun. They are easy. Wrapping one in a certain way can help conceal my tummy. Scarves are a good wrapping.

Bacon is a good wrapping, too. Wrap a beef tenderloin with bacon and make a perfect filet mignon. Wrap asparagus spears or bundles of green beans with bacon for an extra special side dish. Wrap water chestnuts with bacon and drown in a spicy-sweet glaze for Rumaki that is lick-your-fingers-good. Wrap shrimp with bacon and and grill while brushing with a garlic butter for skewers that can bring summer to mind in the dead of winter. Bacon wrapping possibilities are endless, and I haven't met a single one that I haven't liked. (Which might explain why I need to conceal my tummy...)

It is no surprise that I was all over a salad that featured bacon-wrapped pears. Salty, crispy bacon highlights the sweetness of roasted pears so well.  I just love a sweet and salty combo, don't you? Toss in the earthiness of pecans with fresh greens and drizzle with a light, savory dressing and you have wrapped up an incredible salad. Roasted Bacon-Wrapped Pears with Greens and Mustard Dressing is a beautiful (and impressive...but oh so easy!) starter to a meal, but is hearty enough to be the meal itself.

That's a wrap On My Plate.

12 slices bacon
3 large pears, quartered
6 cups mixed salad greens
2/3 cup pecans, toasted
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shaved
2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 350.
Mustard Dressing: 
Whisk all dressing ingredients together. Set aside for flavors to meld while preparing the rest of the salad.
Meanwhile, between layers of paper toweling on a plate, heat bacon in a microwave until partially cooked. It should still be "bendy" and not crispy. (I hesitate to give exact cook times, because all microwaves cook differently.)
Wrap one slice of bacon around each pear quarter, and secure with a wooden pick. 
Place pear quarters on a wire rack over a jelly-roll pan.
Bake bacon-wrapped pears for 10 minutes, or until fruit is juicy and bacon is crispy.
Arrange salad greens on 4 serving plates, and sprinkle evenly with pecans and Parmesan cheese. 
Place 3 pear quarters on each salad.
Drizzle with Mustard Dressing before serving. (Serves 4)

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