I like to use a mild, soft lettuce such as boston or bibb, for the base. I heat a saute pan to medium and drizzle in just enough oil to coat the pan. I would then put in bacon chips, (larger than bits, I cut'em up with the pinking sheers). Then I throw in walnuts in halves plus smaller pieces. At this point, I put in what ever else I want slightly glazed, such as pear wedges, red pepper chunks, even thin slices of onion. Garlic is never
a bad idea. Don't forget salt and a few cranks of fresh pepper. I like to add tarragon lately.
I add balsamic/ sometimes raspberry, vinegar at the end. A toss or two and plop this on top of the lettuces. Now you can add crumbles of bleu cheese, or feta, or even fat shavings of parmesan. Done!
In the summer, I put wedges of belgian endive, (the tight, spear-shaped kind) right on the grill. Drizzle with oil first, (maybe even a little chili oil?). It looks great if you fan out the grilled spears/leaves. Then, put the other salad items either in the middle like the center of a daisy, or off to one side like, well, holding a fan. Presentation never hurts.