Bacon Jam Is The Secret Ingredient For Sweet And Smoky Salad Dressing

Bacon makes pretty much everything better, and salads are no exception. An easy avocado and broccoli salad recipe is easily elevated by adding some crispy shards of the meat while creamy potato salad always benefits from the salty chew of a little bacon. But if you really want to ramp up the sweet, smoky, and savory flavors in a simple salad, it's worth adding a porky element to the dressing, too. And it's incredibly easy to do this just by adding bacon jam.

Whether you make your own bacon jam or buy a jar from the grocery store, the thick, sweet-yet-savory condiment is great on burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, or served on a cheese or charcuterie board. But with its rich, robust taste and soft-yet-crunchy texture thanks to slowly cooked onions and little bits of crispy bacon, it also works well in cooking; bacon jam takes pan sauces to a whole other level, for example. When used in a salad dressing, just a small amount infuses the whole thing with a smoky meaty flavor, but without the need to cook any actual bacon; simply stir in the condiment.

Besides its simplicity, another advantage of using bacon jam in salad dressings is its versatility. It can work just as well in a sharp, tangy vinaigrette as it can in a creamier dressing. And it can enhance so many varieties of salads, too, from basic dressed leaves to hearty potato salads.

A bacon jam vinaigrette is an easy way to boost flavor

It couldn't be easier to make a basic bacon jam vinaigrette. Simply add a tablespoon of the condiment to equal amounts of olive oil and red wine vinegar, whisk it, season to taste, and you're good to go. You could even add it to a ready-made vinaigrette dressing if you prefer. But if you fancy switching things up a little with different flavor combos, there are plenty of delicious options to try.

Try incorporating bacon jam into dressings made with ingredients such as apple cider vinegar, honey, and mustard for a sweeter dressing that combines a little heat with a tasty tanginess, and smoky depth. Or try a flavorful warm Asian-style dressing for a salad of chicken and shredded crunchy vegetables; just heat bacon jam in a pan with fish sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and finely chopped chili, and mix well.

Alternatively, go for a creamier style of dressing. You can mix bacon jam with buttermilk for a simple style that would go great with spinach salads; try adding the condiment to a savory store-bought or homemade ranch dressing; since bacon and strong cheese work so well together, add a dollop of the relish to a rich blue cheese dressing.

Elevate all types of salad with bacon jam

Another ingredient that benefits from a little bacon jam is cool, creamy mayonnaise. And this mixture makes a brilliant base for so many different types of salads, as well as a tasty and outrageously simple dressing. To make a next-level potato salad using sweet and smoky bacon jam, just stir the relish into some mayo, and then mix in the cooked potatoes and whatever other ingredients you fancy — from onions or scallions to red bell pepper or celery. It's equally good served warm or cold, and you can always add extra pieces of cooked bacon if you want to double the impact.

Creamy pasta salad can also be given extra depth with bacon jam; it's perfect as a barbecue side dish to add another meaty dimension to the offering. You could even bring a BLT vibe to your pasta salad by including halved cherry tomatoes and peppery arugula to turn it into a main dish; add some toasted bread croutons for a crunchy contrast.

Alternatively, try mixing the condiment into the mayo for your next egg salad to add extra interest to your lunchtime sandwich; after all, there are scientific reasons why bacon and eggs taste so good together. And it's equally welcome in chicken salad since poultry and bacon are such perfect partners. With a little bacon jam and a little imagination, salads will never be boring again.