Eat Well Wednesday: Baby Spinach Salad…

This salad is from the book Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone, from the chapter titled ‘Weekend Lunches’. So when the weekend rolled around, I decided to cook this rather yummy looking salad.

It appealed to me on Saturday because it is actually very easy to make (the instructions look detailed, but are foolprood – I think they are targeted towards beginners).

Saturdays are full of running around – they’re never as relaxed as Sundays. The fact this is an easy salad is what makes it a perfect Saturday salad, and was enhanced by the alfresco balcony setting in which we ate it!

I would have loved to put a beautiful runny poached egg on top of my serving, but alas, it’s on the ‘No Bloody Fun’ list for pregnant ladies.

Baby Spinach Salad with Crispy Bacon and Cheese Croutons, by Curtis Stone

Serves 4

4 thick slices crusty sourdough bread

3 tablespoons butter

30g parmesan cheese, finely shredded

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

4 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 slices streaky bacon

12 cherry tomatoes, halved

Preheat te oven to 210C. Using serrated knife, remove the crusts from the sourdough bread. Then tear or cut the bread into 2.5cm pieces. Place the bread pieces on a baking tray and toast in the oven, stirring the pieces halfway through to ensure they cook evenly, for 8 minutes, or until they are dry and crisp. Remove from oven but leave the oven on.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan, and drizzle it over the croutons; toss to coat them with the butter. Arrange the butter-coated croutons close together in a single layer on the baking tray. sprinkle the cheese generously over the croutons and return them to the oven. Back for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the croutons are golden. Remove the croutons from the oven and set them aside to cool.

Place the vinegar in a medium bowl. Slowly add the oil while whisking constantly to blend. Whisk in the parsley and season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook for about 3 minutes per side, or until crisp and golden. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the spinach leaves with enough vinaigrette to coat, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Break half the bacon into bite-size pieces and add them to the salad. Divide the salad among 4 serving plates, and arrange the remaining bacon over the salads. Garnish the salads with the cherry tomatoes and croutons, and serve.

This recipe can be found on p.90 of Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone. Yum yum!

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