Friday, May 15, 2009

Fresh Spinach Salad

One of my favorite local restaurants, American Flatbread, supports organic and locally-farmed agriculture; the purity and freshness of their ingredients flavor every bite of their food. They recently had a spinach salad on its specials menu that was so simple yet divine. Their salad is the inspiration behind this one.

12 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves, stems removed, rinsed and spun dry
4 slices bacon
Shaved fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 lemon
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Add bacon to a cold frying pan, placing the strips side by side. (Do not heat the pan first, as that will cause the bacon to shrink and curl more.) Cook over medium-low heat. (Cooking the bacon over low heat will render the most amount of fat out of the bacon.) Turn over the bacon once in a while, to cook it evenly. When the bacon reaches a deep brown color, it is done. Remove from the pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain the fat.

Make the vinaigrette. Whisk together the juice of a lemon, the vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Continue whisking vigorously while slowly adding the oil until well combined.

Put the baby spinach leaves in a serving bowl. Dress the spinach with the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Shave fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over spinach and crumble bacon on top. Serve immediately.

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