The hectic flurry of the holiday season is beginning to come to an end and today, New Year’s Day 2012, will be celebrated by spending as little time in the kitchen as possible…! There remains a generous portion of roast pork loin in the fridge begging to be napped with a rich sauce the foundation of which had been the rib bones removed from the loin prior to slicing, then roasted in a hot oven with onions, carrots, celery and heads of garlic for several hours until dark. With the addition of stock, herbs, spices… and hours of reduction and flavor enrichment, the only thing needed tonight is a brief moment or two of time in the microwave to reheat both the pork and the sauce!
Since it is New Year’s Day we thought the addition of a quick and easy Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing would add a touch of elegance to the leftovers and make the day feel very much like the day of new beginnings that it is… without going through a lot of fuss! This crisp, fresh salad with its smoky sweetness and vinegary tang, its crunchy bursts of flavor from the bacon to the smooth creaminess of the grated egg truly makes the palate sing in praise at the anticipation of another great year in the kitchen…!
Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
– serves four generously –
Wash and spin dry, if necessary, place in a large serving bowl and set to the side:
16 oz fresh baby spinach leaves
Using a box grater, grate and set to the side:
1 – 2 hard-boiled eggs
With a sharp chef’s knife cut into 1/4″ strips:
6 strips thick-cut bacon
Place a medium-sized skillet or sauteuse over medium high heat and add the bacon strips:
Render the fat from the bacon, turning frequently to prevent scorching. As the bacon starts to brown quickly watch it carefully. Turn off the heat and transfer the rendered bits to a plate or pan lined with a paper towel:
Strain the fat from the pan into a small bowl, then return to the pan:
- 3 T of the strained bacon fat, reserving the remainder
Re-ignite the flame under the skillet to medium high heat. When the bacon fat begins to shimmer add:
- 1 large shallot, minced
Stir the shallots, scraping up some of the browned bits in the process.
When they begin to turn translucent add to the pan:
- 3/4 C Sherry vinegar
Stir vigorously to loosen the remaining bits quickly:
- 1 – 1-1/2 T reserved bacon fat
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- dash or 2 of Worcestershire sauce
Whisk to incorporate. Season to taste, if necessary, with:
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pour hot dressing over prepared greens and immediately toss several turns to begin coating the spinach leaves quickly. Add:
- the reserved bacon bits
Continue to toss until bacon is incorporated. Plate, garnish with the grated hard-boiled egg and serve at once. Should you like, an extra grind of pepper is more than welcomed. This delightfully easy salad could not be a more perfect way to welcome in 2012. HAPPY NEW YEAR to all… and BON APPETIT…!
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