Wednesday, June 01, 2011

wilted spinach salad with tuna and bacon

By Julie

This recipe was born out of a need to use up an impulse purchase of spinach. Quite similar to the last post's fennel bulb, actually. I didn't, however, let the spinach get to such a sorry state. That would have been gross. But I wasn't sure what to use it for - a simple sautéed accompaniment to something? I thought about incorporating it in that blasted tortilla, also mentioned in the last post. I thought about making a kind of proper tuna salad and putting it on top of a bed of the spinach. But I was inspired to make a warm, wilted salad after seeing this version. It's pretty wintery, but then again, the weather has been downright damp and Boston-y and this salad fit the bill when I made it.

I'm hoping this salad will be a gateway salad. I really fell out of salad mode this past winter. I don't think I made a single one at home. I eat them a lot at work - we get our clients lunch and the employees get to freeload along. But I never felt in the mood to make one myself. Which is a shame, because a well dressed salad with thoughtfully included and prepared ingredients is a beautiful thing. So this salad was a good reminder. Since it's just gently wilted spinach, it still retains the qualities of a fresh, raw salad. I'm already looking forward to crisp, cool summer salads of gorgeous tomatoes and fresh herbs. Yum! In the meantime, I'm going to start looking for unique spring greens like pea shoots or fava greens. I haven't found them yet at my regular grocery store, but I might check at a more special grocery store.

This is a really simple salad that has tons of ways to change it, if you want. You could change the fish for another protein. I wanted to add in chopped apples to the dressing, but had already eaten a ton of strawberries and felt like I would have been on fruit overload. Thin red onion slices would be good in this, so would toasted nuts. Have fun with it - change up the vinegar type, try different mustards, add minced garlic along with the shallots... I can't wait to make this again!

wilted spinach salad with tuna and bacon

6 slices of bacon, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons minced shallot
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
1 bunch fresh spinach (or 1 pound baby spinach), coarse stems discarded, leaves roughly torn and washed well
2 cans of olive oil-packed tuna fish

1. In a large skillet cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until it is crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer it to a paper towel to drain.

2. Pour off all but 2-3 tablespoons of the fat. Place skillet back on the burner and cook the shallot for about 1 minute. Whisk in the vinegar and mustard. Salt and pepper to taste.

3. Put spinach in a large bowl and toss with the warm dressing, bacon, and tuna until the spinach is just wilted.

This was originally posted at my blog, the crankin' kitchen!

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