Warm Napa Cabbage, Bacon, Blue Cheese & Apple Salad

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It’s that time of year when you never know quite what the weather’s going to do — one day it’s 40 and gray and the next it’s 70 and sunny — so here’s a hearty, season-bridging salad from chef and restaurateur Dave DuBois. The man behind popular local spots like the Franklin Cafe, Citizen Pub, Our Fathers and Tasty Burger knows what the people want on a salad – salty, smoky bacon and blue cheese, for starters. DuBois balances the richness with tart apple and warm-but-not-wilted Napa cabbage and radicchio for a satisfying meal whatever the weather.


Servings: 4


For the salad
  • 1 head Napa cabbage
  • 1 head radicchio
  • 5 thick slices apple wood smoked bacon, chopped fine
  • 1 green apple, peeled
  • 4 ounces crumbled blue or green veined cheese (your choice, but hard is preferable to creamy)
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil
For mustard sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • cold water to thin
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cut off bottom of head of cabbage. Pull cabbage leaves apart, wash in cold water and dry. Cut out most of hard stem leaving some for body. Stack leaves and crosscut julienne into 1/4 inch wide slices.
  2. Save four nice outside leaves from radicchio. Wash, dry, and set aside at room temp. Repeat procedure used on the cabbage with the radicchio except crosscut julienne into eighth-inch wide slices.
  3. On medium to high heat, cook oil and bacon pieces in large skillet or sauté pan.
  4. Whisk together ingredients for mustard sauce in a cold bowl.
  5. When bacon is cooked tender, push it to the top of the pan. Back tilt pan letting fat evenly coat-then pool in lower half of pan. Make sure pan is on medium-high heat. Place cabbage into fat then toss once. Add crumbled cheese, radicchio, black pepper to taste, and mustard sauce to taste (2 ounces is plenty).
  6. Toss until everything is coated and cook for about 2 minutes until warmed through but still crisp (must not be too wilted!). One final toss.
  7. Set out radicchio leaves on four plates. Drizzle mustard dressing around plate. Fill radicchio leaves with warm cabbage salad.
  8. Grate some fresh apple over the top using large hole on box grater. Garnish with herb of choice. He likes a touch of finely julienned sage.

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