Bacon-Watercress Salad

As soon as I opened my latest issue of Food Network Magazine, I was excited to try this recipe. It worked out great, as I have a ton of fancy cheeses leftover from my sister-in-law’s baby shower, and I need to use it up before they go bad. The only change I made was to use canned mandarin oranges rather than segmenting fresh whole oranges, as, to be honest with you, I was just too lazy to worry about segmenting oranges when I have canned ones in the house. Yes, even I like short cuts. With that slight change, this turned out to be a very quick weeknight dinner, even when you add in the time it took to whip up some corn muffins to go along side.


  • 6 slices Thick-cut Bacon
  • 1 clove Garlic, coarsely chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • Black Pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/3 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 medium Bunch Watercress, tough stems removed
  • 1 cup Fresh Parsley Leaves
  • 1 small head Escarole, outer leaves removed, torn
  • 1 can Mandarin Oranges, drained
  • 1/3 cup Toasted Hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup Dried Dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup Blue Cheese, crumbled


  1. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  2. Put the garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt, then mash into a paste with the flat side of a large knife.
  3. Whisk the vinegar and garlic paste in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper, then whisk in the olive oil.
  4. Add the watercress, parsley and escarole and toss to coat. Just before serving, add in the crumbled bacon, oranges, hazelnuts, dates and blue cheese.

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