When you’ve had an alcoholic beverage every single day for the last six days, Monday requires a detox…A major one. I’m so used to having a daily cocktail, that this morning instead of reaching for my almond milk, I pulled out a cold Miller Light. I probably shouldn’t be admitting this to you, because now you may forever remember me as the girl that prefaced her PG food blog with the admittance of having a slight drinking problem. But before you brand me a certified alcoholic, and declare this space of the internet a bad influence on your healthy eating and drinking habits, let me assure you, I’m nothing of the sort.
Let me explain. In case you’ve been living under a rock, or are completely out of touch with sports (I am 99% of the time), the Kansas City Royals are deep into postseason baseball – in fact, last night was game five of the World Series. I mentioned it a week or so ago, but this is the first time the Royals have been in the postseason, let the alone THE WORLD SERIES since 1985 – that’s a lonnnnng time. To say that Kansas City is excited, would be a severe understatement. The whole town is painted blue. Businesses are shutting down early. No one leaves their house without some sort of Royals apparel on. Weeknights normally spent watching New Girl and Homeland have been replaced with four-hour baseball games and beer drinking – hence, the nightly drinking fest.
Because baseball = beer +hot dogs (another problem in and of itself).
Even though I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this Royals run we’ve been on, I wish we’d just win the dang thing already; my body was totally not cut out for more than two nights of cocktails per week. Unless you count happy hour, then I can only handle three nights of cocktails, because wine with the girls before 7pm, doesn’t count as drinking, right?
Enter: Brussels Sprout, Kale and Chard Salad with Candied Pancetta, Pears and Blue Cheese. The perfect balancing act to a week-long diet full of beer and hot dogs.
While this salad served as a detox to all the junk I’ve been pumping through my body, it would just as well be suited simply as a perfect fall salad. A bit heartier in its structure than your typical salad, this guy includes loads of chopped brussels sprouts, hearty kale and the best looking green of the lot, rainbow chard . I had a planned for this to a be a brussels sprout only salad, but I hit the leafy green jackpot yesterday at the grocery store when I spotted a giant bin of organic greens for 99 cents per bunch. And in keeping in line with the detox mentality, the more nutrients I can pump into by body, the better.
Since I don’t do detox salads Gwenyth Paltrow style (i.e. basically just lettuce and lemon juice), a form of texture and dairy is mandatory for me to actually enjoy the salad without reaching for a bar of chocolate 20 minutes afterwards. Candied pancetta serves as the perfect bite of crunch, with a punch of a salty and sweet finish at the end. Blue cheese adds a hint of creaminess and tanginess that goes hand in hand with in-season bosc pears.
All of the ingredients are tossed together and then finished off with a simple Dijon and maple vinaigrette. I know salads can be kind of boring, and there’s only so far, “Eat this salad, it will be the best thing you’ve ever had!” goes, but there’s something to be said about these ingredients that all work so harmoniously together…
This falls salad combines, hearty kale and chard with the crispness of chopped brussels sprouts, creamy blue cheese and sweet and salty candied pancetta.
- 6 cups chopped brussels sprouts, swiss chard and kale
- 3 bosc pears, cored and diced
- 4 ounces crumbled gorgonzola
- 4 1/8-inch slices of pancetta, diced (I have the deli counter slice them this size for me)
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar + 1/2 teaspoon water
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- More salt and pepper to taste
- Add pancetta to a medium-sized cold non-stick pan. Turn the heat on medium and cook pancetta until crisp. Drain on paper towel. Remove grease from pan and wipe clean. Add pancetta back to the hot pan, and turn the heat back on to medium. Add brown sugar and water. Once the brown sugar has melted and coated the pancetta, remove from pan, it should take 2-3 minutes. Be careful, as the sugar can burn easily.
- In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, maple syrup and salt. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl toss, brussels sprouts, kale, chard, gorgonzola, pears and pancetta. Season with salt and pepper.
- Toss salad with dressing. Taste to make sure the seasoning is correct, if necessary, add more salt and freshly cracked pepper.
I like to lightly dress my greens, if you like more dressing, double the recipe.