A big hit with the Shelton clan, this beautiful salad is as pleasing to the palate as it is to the eye.  Ever since my big sister, Christi, made it for some barbecue/party/family gathering years ago, we all keep asking for it, time after time.  It covers all the bases: sweet, salty, tangy, and earthy flavors, combined with a crisp, chewy, and even a little creamy texture make this the perfect addition to your recipe box.  Not only is it great looking and even better tasting, it’s so easy to put together and practically fool-proof.  If you have time to cook a little bacon, you’ve got time to make this crowd pleaser.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 large head broccoli (about 2 lbs.), cut into small florets

8-12 pieces of bacon, diced small

1/2 c. raisins

1/4 c. red onion, finely diced

1 c. mayonnaise

2 T. white balsamic vinegar (apple cider vinegar also works well)

First, cook the bacon.  A great tip for cooking fatty meats like bacon, sausage, or ground beef is to cook it in a medium sauce pan with a lid.  Add a couple tablespoons of water, cover and cook on medium heat for about 5-10 minutes, or until much of the liquid from the meat has released and you’re almost boiling the meat.  Remove the lid and turn the heat down a little; the liquid will cook off and your meat with crisp up nicely.  With bacon, dice it up when it is just from the fridge as it is easiest to cut when it is very cold.

While the bacon is cooking, chop the broccoli and onion and toss them, along with the raisins in a bowl large enough hold all of the ingredients.  Mix together the dressing in a small bowl or jar and set aside.

Once the bacon is nice and crispy, strain it from the fat and let cool a few minutes on some paper towels.  Add the cooled bacon to the bowl and pour on about 2/3 of the dressing.  Give it a good toss to coat everything and let refrigerate until serving.  Taste the salad after it has refrigerated and add more dressing if you feel it needs it.

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