This recipe from the Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook takes spinach salad to a whole new level. The salad base is spinach and frisee leaves. For a long time, I was ambivalent about frisee – it comes in a lot of the salad blends, but it never really stood out to me. Lately I’ve realized that frisee is quite delicious on its own, and have been incorporating it into my everyday cooking.
The spinach and frisee are tossed in a unique dressing – when you cook the bacon for this salad, reserve some of the fat in the pan. Balsamic vinegar is added to warm bacon fat and reduced a bit to make an intense, syrupy dressing. Bacon, currants and roasted shallots are also added to the mix.
This was truly an outstanding salad. If you roast the shallots in advance, it can be thrown together quite easily.
Serves 4Adapted from Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook
6 small shallots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 tsp + 3 T balsamic vinegar
1 T olive oil
3 cups spinach leaves
3 cups frisee leaves
4 slices bacon, sliced crosswise
4 T dried currants
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the shallots with the olive oil and 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar in a baking dish. Season with salt and pepper, then roast for 20 minutes, or until the shallots are golden brown and tender. Set aside to cool.
To make the dressing, cook the bacon in a large pan over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon out of the pan and onto paper towels to drain. Leave 1 tablespoon of bacon fat in the pan, drain off the excess. Pour the 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar into the pan and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To assemble, toss the greens with the dressing. Separate the shallots into rings and scatter over the salad. Top with bacon and currants.