Summer Sides

I don’t want to jinx it, but I *think* summer might be here to stay.  Even though I was born and raised in Chicago, I hate hate hate cold weather, so I tend to spend every possible minute outdoors once the warmer months arrive.  The building we live in has an awesome roof deck, and we enjoy many meals alfresco.  The kids seem to love this shift in routine – they can run around while Chris and I enjoy a good beer in the fresh air.

Last night we put together a great dinner.  Chris cooked brats on the grill, and I prepared a few healthy side dishes infused with bacony goodness.  Bacony Brussels Sprouts were tender and tasty, and the Heirloom Tomato and Avocado Salad was dressed with a warm bacon-shallot dressing. One skillet cooked up two sides – I love it when I can minimize clean up time.

I normally avoid pork, but I just can’t say no to bacon and brats!  Fortunately, our wonderful co-op offers pasture-raised meats so I feel comfortable serving it to my family.

Bacony Brussels Sprouts

3 strips bacon

1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved

1/2 large shallot, finely chopped

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Lay bacon in skillet and cook until crispy.  Remove bacon from pan, leaving bacon grease in pan. Drop in Brussels sprouts.  Resist the urge to stir them right away – let them brown on one side before tossing.  Cook for 4-5 minutes – until the sprouts are tender.

Transfer the sprouts to a bowl.  Add salt to taste and crumbled bacon pieces.  Stir well and serve.

Heirloom Tomato and Avocado Salad with Bacon Dressing

3-4 heirloom tomatoes, diced into large chunks

1 avocado, diced

1/2 shallot, finely chopped

Few leaves fresh basil, chiffonade

2-3 tablespoons Bacon grease or olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

In a medium serving bowl, combine tomatoes, avocado and basil. Set aside.

Heat bacon grease (or olive oil) in a medium skillet.  Add shallot and cook until it begins to soften.  If you have a few bits of cooked bacon, feel free to add those in, too.  Whisk in vinegar.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour warm dressing over vegetables and gently toss.  Serve immediately.

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1 Comment for this entry

  1. Amanda says:

    I’m not a big fan of bacon but that heirloom tomato salad looks divine! I’m sure my husband would love it – he loves his bacon!

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