A good dressing pulls ingredients together. Add the oil slowly so it emulsifies. Here’s a great little salad that’s open to a range of other ingredient options. So go ahead and build it up. Follow the salad rules and you’ll be laughing.
- Wash and dry the watercress. Discard any woody stems.
- Sit the chicory on a board, trim the end or just strip the leaves off . Wash and dry them well. Leave whole, tear into bits or mix it up – your choice.
- Make the dressing: put the honey and mustard into a small bowl. Using a spoon or mini-balloon whisk, beat the vinegar in gradually until creamy.
- Add the oil drop by drop, then in a trickle, beating as you go, so it emulsifies.
- Slice the shallot thinly and stir it in. Dip a leaf in to taste so you can adjust the seasoning and balance of acidity if you need to. Set aside.
- Preheat the grill to high. Lay the bacon on the rack in the pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Turn with tongs or a fork. Repeat till cooked (don’t burn it). Transfer to kitchen paper.
- Sit your avocado on a board. Cut it in half by slicing horizontally through the skin and flesh till you hit the stone. Rotate the fruit as you hold the knife in place. Hold both halves of the fruit and twist in opposite directions to separate.
- Leave the stone in the half you’re not using, rub the flesh with lemon and wrap in cling film: save this for guacamole .
- Scoop the flesh from the other half with a spoon, slice it and toss in lemon juice.
- Toss the leaves and dressing together with your fingers, judging it so you don’t use too much, yet every leaf is coated.
- Bang the dressed leaves onto plates or into a bowl. Add the avocado and crumble over the crisp bacon.
From Sam Stern’s Cookery Course for Students in the Kitchen (Quadrille)
Photograph by Chris Terry