CRISP APPLE, BACON, ‘N' CHEESE SALAD
4 to 6 servings
Pan-fry bacon in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat until golden brown and crisp; drain thoroughly on absorbent paper. Or, microwave whole bacon slices between sheets of absorbent paper or wax paper at HIGH power for about 4 minutes or until crisp. Coarsely crumble bacon and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine three-fourths of the crumbled bacon, apples, celery, nuts of choice, cheese of choice, and green onion. In a 1-cup measure, combine mayonnaise and sugar, salt, and hot sauce, if desired; add mayonnaise mixture to apple/bacon mixture, mixing gently but well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve, arrange crisp leaf or Boston or bibb lettuce on each of 4 to 6 salad plates. Spoon apple mixture onto each lettuce-lined plate, dividing evenly. Sprinkle each salad with paprika and then remaining crumbled bacon. Or, may serve in a large salad bowl lined with crisp leaf or Boston or bibb lettuce.
Note: May use regular bacon or reduced-salt or reduced-sugar bacon or turkey or chicken bacon as desired.
Variations: Add ½ to ¾ cup halved seedless green, red, or black grapes or a combination, to the salad mixture.
Add ½ cup dried sweet dark (Bing) cherries to the salad mixture.
Add ½ cup coarsely chopped pitted dates to the salad mixture.