Arugula Salad with Blue Cheese, Dates, and Hot Bacon Dressing
5 medjool dates
4 cups loosely packed baby arugula
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 2 ounces)
4 strips bacon
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
Coarsely ground black pepper
Arugula blossoms, for garnish (optional)
Halve and pit the dates and slice each in half again. Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and top with the dates and blue cheese.
Cook the bacon in a heavy skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the bacon to paper-towel-lined plate. Reserve 1/4 cup of the bacon grease.
Whisk the reserved bacon grease, vinegar, water, and brown sugar together in the skillet. Place the skillet back over medium heat and whisk the dressing constantly until it boils. Taste and add more vinegar if desired. Pour the hot dressing over the arugula. Crumble the bacon into the salad and ttoss well. Season to taste with pepper and garnish with arugula blossoms before serving.