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Wilted Spinach Salad

This spinach salad has been popular on restaurant menus for decades, but there’s no reason you can’t make it at home.  Especially when pre-washed baby spinach is available in every supermarket, this recipe is quick and easy to prepare.  This salad recipe allows you to have a green vegetable, meat item, and carbohydrates in a single serving. 
Wilted Spinach Salad
To make this salad, you will need either a wok or a large heat-proof salad bowl and a medium-sized frying pan.  There is plenty of leeway to add things you love to the basic mix.  Consider sesame seeds or grape tomatoes, or even hard-boiled eggs have been added at some restaurants. You can sprinkle grated parmesan as a final garnish along with the croutons.
Measuring Balsamic Vinegar One important ingredient is the croutons:  home-made croutons from stale French bread or even whole-wheat bread tone down the acidity of the salad dressing and contribute slow-burning carbs so that you can make a light meal of this one recipe if you wish, or serve as a side dish. When the bread is stale, you can slice it and rub the garlic on the cut sides, then cube and toast in your oven or toaster oven. The remaining garlic can be minced and added to the onion mixture.
Find detailed instructions for making croutons . . .

8-10 oz fresh baby spinach leaves, washed and dried

1/3 lb bacon, diced

½ medium red onion, sliced

1 clove fresh garlic, rubbed on bread, then minced

1 tbls pine nuts, optional

½ lb mushrooms, sliced

1/8 cup white balsamic vinegar (1 oz)

1/8 cup white or red wine or beer (1 oz)

3 tbls Dijon mustard

1 tsp horseradish sauce

1 pinch coarse sea salt or kosher salt

½ tsp cracked pepper

4-6 slices dry French bread for croutons

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If using medium frypan and large heat-proof salad bow, place spinach in heat-proof bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Heat saucepan or wok to medium and sauté diced bacon until the edges begin to brown and crisp.  Remove to paper toweling using a slotted spoon, leaving the fat behind in the pan. 

Warm Dressing for Spinach
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In the bacon fat, sauté the onion for 2-3 minutes, then add garlic, and then the pine nuts.  After a minute add the mushrooms and stir until fat is absorbed, 3 or 4 minutes.  Then, add the vinegar and wine and stir for 1-2 minutes to reduce by half, then incorporate mustard and horseradish.  Add more wine or juice to reach a salad-dressing consistency; pour over spinach, or, if using wok, toss spinach into dressing along with bacon and cover with a large plate or foil. If using heat-proof salad bowl, drizzle spinach with dressing, toss in bacon, and place hot pan over bowl and allow spinach to wilt for a minute or two.

Dish salad into bowls and top with prepared croutons.  Serve with cold beer or wine.

The quality of your ingredients will be very noticeable in this recipe.  Especially the balsamic vinegar will give a rich fragrance and flavor to the mushrooms.  You can always buy a medium-priced balsamic vinegar when it is on sale and put it down in your wine rack to age until needed.  If you buy two, at least one of them will have a chance to develop a smoother flavor.  A good-quality vinegar is sure to improve with age!

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