Summer has passed and cantaloupe have been scarce this year. Over the next two weeks, cantaloupe season will wind down just as arugula begins to appear at farmers markets. The eclipse of these two seasons makes for a delicious pairing of arugula and cantaloupe. The peppery arugula and sweet cantaloupe are enhanced by adding crispy bacon and spicy maple pecans. Cantaloupe may be replaced with peaches, figs or any other sweet fruit. Arugula cantaloupe salad complements most meals as a side salad, or it can serve as a main salad with the addition of more pecans and bacon. Flip through the attached list for the full recipe.
Prepare Crispy Bacon
Crisp 4 slices of bacon reserving the bacon fat rendered while cooking. Crumble bacon and set aside to cool completely. Harrison Hog Farms sells bacon at both the Urban Harvest Farmers Market and the farmers market at Rice University.
Prepare Spicy Maple Pecans
Preheat oven to 250 F. Break 1 cup of halved pecans into large pieces. In a separate bowl combine dry spices including 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp of smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp of coarse ground sea salt and a dash of cayenne pepper. Place the pecan pieces on a greased cookie sheet covered with foil. Coat the pecans with 2 Tbsp of maple syrup. Sprinkle dry spice mix over pecans and toss well to coat the pecans. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool completely.
Slice cantaloupe into 1 inch cubes or thin 2 inch slices to make approximately 3/4 cup of cubed cantaloupe per person. Make this into a main salad entree by adding more cantaloupe. Any other seasonal fruit works well in this recipe.
Prepare Warm Bacon Dressing
Prepare a warm bacon dressing by mixing: 5 Tbsp of olive oil, 2 Tbsp of the rendered bacon fat, 2 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbsp of maple syrup and 1/2 tsp of sea salt.
Prepare side salads with 1 heaping cup of arugula for the base, 3/4 cup of cubed cantaloupe, 2 slices of crumbled bacon (2 Tbsp), and 2 Tbsp of the spicy maple pecans. Pour warm bacon dressing over just before serving.