Friday, July 18, 2008

Spinach Salad

I yam what I yam, and while I do like yams, I don't really like spinach. Popeye I (y)am not. Wait, that's so untrue sometimes that I'm really reluctant to even say that. I don't LOVE spinach. How's that? I don't like the gritty feeling it leaves on my teeth sometimes, so I tend to avoid rather than deal.
However! I think I have found the secret to making spinach salads that I will knock you down and take your fork away for. Get ready to be shocked. . . .
the secret ingredient. . . .
goat cheese.

Okay, I know, I'll put goat cheese on anything that will hold still long enough for me to do so but it really does make life better. And when I say goat cheese mind you, I'm talking that soft, crumbly chevre (like the texture of this Purple Haze perhaps), and not the thousands of other variations of cheese that can be made from goat's milk. Silly right?
In any case, I've made two spinach salads that I have fallen in love with, and the other ingredients they've had in common are onions/shallots and red wine vinegar vinaigrette. And I like them kind of warm.
So here, two options; both make enough to serve 2, maybe 3 if you're feeling generous, which I rarely am.

Pancetta & Goat Cheese Spinach Salad
  • Diced pancetta - you know, about that amount that looks right. 2 oz? (TJ's is kind enough to make a little package of finely diced pancetta for my cooking needs, but you can get some from your butcher - 1/4" thick cuts, then dice them up yourself.)
  • 1 good sized shallot, finely diced
  • cherry tomatoes (I really like those little Sweet 100s for this) - a cup or so
  • 1 bag of ready to go baby spinach leaves
  • goat cheese - 2 oz? 4 oz? a pound? you decide
  • olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • s&p

Dump your bag o'greens into a bowl and cover in goat cheese. No really, add more. Slice your wee tomatoes in half and dump them in too.
Heat up a skillet over medium, and add the pancetta. Once it's given up some of its fat, you're safe to add the shallot. Once the pancetta looks yummy, and onion is all soft and delish, you're good to go. I add the oil and vinegar directly to the pan and whisk to make my dressing. I don't think you need salt, but that's up to you - season to taste.
Pour this warm dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Battle to the death for last serving rights.

Sauteed Mushroom & Goat Cheese Spinach Salad
  • 1 good sized shallot, finely diced
  • 2 cups of sliced mushrooms (I used cremini, but anything would work I bet)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 bag of ready to go baby spinach leaves
  • goat cheese - 2 oz? 4 oz? a pound? you decide
  • olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • s&p

Put a dash of olive oil into a pan heating on medium. Add the shallots and garlic and sautee until the shallots start to look translucent. Add the mushrooms and sautee until cooked. Add s & p to taste.
Dump your bag o'greens into a bowl and cover in goat cheese. No really, add more.
Pour your mushrooms over the salad and use the warm, still covered in bits pan to make the dressing. There's still some oil in there, so you only need to add a little, then whisk in your vinegar.
Pour this over the salad and toss to coat. Battle to the death for last serving rights.

1 comment:

M. Quinn Sweeney said...

Good think I didn't sit still too long. Actually, too bad I didn't sit still long enough. I can attest to the deliciousness of these salads.