Sunday, April 06, 2008

Warm Spinach Salad ...

A typical 9 new recipes for us this past week - our notables were those Garlic and Cumin–Seasoned Fries with Chipotle Ketchup, Toffee Almond Sandies and that Gnocchi with Asparagus and Pancetta dish.

When we're looking to keep things on the lighter side, we often we have a simple protein dish, like a quick sautéed chicken breast or center-cut pork chop, and I'll make a more flavorful salad to have along side. This was one of those nights, so to have along side our dinner tonight we made this Warm Spinach Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing.

I'll preface this by saying that the original recipe did call for dandelion greens, but those have not quite hit our markets yet. So instead, I used a single bunch of spinach (not a prepackaged baby spinach) so it would have a little more heft to it. To add moisture and to coat the greens, a thick, warm dressing is on tap to be made first.

Besides the sweet aroma of an apple pie or a batch of chocolate chip cookies, one of our favorite aromas that fills our house is when we have the oven busy roasting a head of garlic. You'll want a fairly large head of garlic for this recipe - if you can only get your hands on smaller heads, just use a couple instead of one. After the garlic has caramelized and softened in the oven, the cloves are squished out of their skins and pureed with a healthy dose of extra-virgin olive oil, rich balsamic vinegar and fresh lime juice.

Since this is a "warm" salad, this dressing is first heated hot enough that it will begin to wilt the greens as soon as it is tossed with them. To add another layer while it is warming up, a minced shallot is tossed in to soften up with the bubbling smooth garlic mixture. Once the spinach has been dressed, a buttery crunch is added with some toasted pine nuts. For a creamy contrast, tangy crumbles of smooth goat cheese are one of the last ingredients to be added so it ever-so-slightly melts from the heat of the dressing. The final thing this salad needed was a few grains of fresh ground or cracked black pepper. Jeff has already asked that we have this again and I especially can't wait to try it when those slightly bitter dandelion greens start popping up.


  1. That looks so simple and delicious. I think I might make this for dinner tonight!