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Learn how to make a Vidalia onion and applewood bacon vinaigrette in this video from Chef Jeff Buben of Vidalia Restaurant.
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I am Jeff Buben of Vidalia Restaurant at Bistro Bis. We are doing Vidalia Onion Recipes today, and in this next segment, we are going to do a very simple Applewood Bacon and Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette which pairs beautifully with some wild greens, we have some dandelion greens, we have a little wild watercress, and some pea tangles. It's a great salad to go along with an on-tray or just makes it a great on-tray by itself. So before we get started, let's go over some of the ingredients and some of the utensils we are going to need for today's recipe. We are going to start with our sweet Vidalia onions. We are going to take some applewood smoked bacon, six slices of applewood smoked bacon for this recipe. You can use a regular smoked bacon from the store or a country bacon, a country cut bacon; the applewood bacon has a beautiful meaty quality to it and a nice sweet smokiness, that gives you a real long flavor. So we really like to use the applewood bacon. The ingredients for our Vinaigrette are simple. Two cloves of chopped garlic, one tablespoon of dry mustard, quarter cup of olive oil, freshly ground pepper and salt, and three tablespoons of Banyuls vinegar from the Southwest of France. You can use a high quality red wine vinegar or Sherry vinegar from Spain, a low acid vinegar with a lot of wine flavor is also just as good as the Banyuls, and a little chopped flatly parsley to finish the salad with. Okay, first, let's begin, I will show you how to cut the onion for this particular recipe, and the applewood bacon. We'll peel the onion. Again, we are going to make crosscuts to the onion, very fine crosscuts a complete length of the onion. We are going to make one or two crosscuts, we will cross that way, and just finish by mincing the onion, so we have a nice fine mince. All the way down to the core, and you can use the end of the core if you want for stock recipe, and we are going to take our slices of applewood bacon, crosscut those, and we are going to make a nice brunoise cut by again crosscutting the length of the bacon again. If you like a little chunkier bacon, if you want to make it for a little bit more of an on-tray salad, you can cut the bacon a little bit coarser if you like. But, just make sure that you cut the onions and the bacon the same size, so they cook evenly, and they will distribute evenly in the salad. We are going to need a medium saute pan over a medium high heat, and the first thing we want to do is we want to take our bacon. We want to render our bacon, which simply means we want to sauté that bacon until it's crisp but not burnt, and we are going save the fat. For this recipe, we are going to save the fat for the vinaigrette. So when the bacon is cooked, we are going to remove the bacon when it's slightly crisped, and that's going to be the basis for our vinaigrette, and we are going to add our onions to that fat, and then the remaining ingredients. It's a very simple recipe. So we are going to let the pan heat up with the bacon, and let that render down. Okay so the bacon is cooking along, and we are getting the bacon nice and evenly crisp, and you see it's starting to brown, nice and beautiful in the pan, and you hear that nice and beautiful crackling sound, and you get that beautiful smoky nose. What we are going to do is we are going to just turn that around a little bit, and work that. So we are going to take that bacon, we are going to take a slotted spoon, and remove the bacon, just like that. Let all the grease go down to the one end of the pan. We will take the bacon, we are going to put that in our bowl. Now, we don't have to worry about draining all the grease because that bacon fat is going to be part of our vinaigrette, and that's what we want. We just want to remove as much as of it as possible, and you can see how easy that is. To that, we are going to add our Vidalia onion and sauté that gently. We don't want to put any cover on the onion. We just want to sauté it till it's nice, soft, a little crunch to it to the middle, almost like an al dente pasta, and we are just going to turn that in the pan. We are going to add our garlic. We don't want the garlic to burn, so we are going to wait for that, and sauté just nice. They’re just starting to soften up, and turn a little translucent. That's what we are looking for. We are going to add our garlic, if you like a lot of garlic, add a little extra garlic, garlic never hurts, garlic is good. Turn the garlic just for about 10 seconds. We are going to add our dry mustard, stir that dry mustard in, we are going to add our vinegar and that's going to degrease the pan for us. So once we've added the vinegar, and the cooking actually started, we don't have to worry about the onions burning, or the garlic burning. You can see how we have that nice and gorgeous like that. Here, we have our vinegar in there. We are going to add our olive oil which will add a little extra fat to the dressing. So we don't have 100% bacon fat. We are going to remove that from the flame, and there we have a beautiful warm vinaigrette. We are going to season that with a little freshly ground black pepper, a little sea salt, and some fresh chopped flatly parsley. Here we have a warm vinaigrette, so we are going to add the vinaigrette to the crisped bacon, make sure that all of our ingredients are in there, some beautiful flavors. I am going to turn that. So it's nicely incorporated with that crisped bacon. While still warm we want to take our greens and our greens are going to be today some wild dandelion greens which make a perfect foil for the bacon and the sweet onion. We have some wild watercress, add the wild watercress to the salad, and we have some fresh pea tangles. Pea tangles in there, we will take a little grind or two of fresh ground sea salt, a little fresh ground black pepper, and we are just going to toss that in the salad, and there we have a great beautiful on-tray salad. Sweet Vidalia onion, applewood bacon, with some wild greens, glass of crisp wine, baguette makes a fine meal.