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Liven up your fruit salad ... with meat

Published August 11. 2010 05:00PM

Following the axiom that bacon makes everything better, I decided to use it to jazz up that staple of summer celebrations fruit salad.

I started with a basic fruit salad of watermelon, strawberries and diced apples. I then dressed that with a simple vinaigrette of olive oil and lemon juice spiked with salt and pepper. You could stop right there, because a splash of acid (the vinaigrette) does wonders to bring out the sweetness of fruit.

Crumbled bacon and slivered fresh basil are used to top the salad, offering a savory, salty and (in the case of the basil) peppery contrast to the fruit. The bacon also adds a pleasant crunch. The salad also can be prepped in advance; just leave out the basil and bacon, adding just before serving.

Finally, if you simply can't accept bacon in a fruit salad (and refuse to accept the universal truth of bacon's ability to improve all things), substitute crumbled Parmesan (which is governed by a similar natural law) or feta cheese, which will add a similar salty, savory flavor.

Watermelon Salad with Basil and Bacon

Start to finish: 15 minutes

Servings: 6

6 cups cut watermelon

2 cups quartered fresh strawberries

2 green apples, cored and diced

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

teaspoon ground black pepper

6 slices cooked and cooled bacon, crumbled

cup thinly sliced fresh basil

In a large bowl, combine the watermelon, strawberries and apples.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Drizzle the mixture over the fruit, then gently toss to combine. Scatter the bacon and basil over the salad. Serve immediately at room temperature.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 214 calories; 115 calories from fat; 13 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 15 mg cholesterol; 26 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 4 g fiber; 355 mg sodium.

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