Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Spinach Salad with Berries and a Warm Pancetta Dressing


Does the world really need another salad recipe? Probably not. In fact, I'd completely forgotten about it. I made the salad after a baking binge. Feather light biscuits. Cornbread with sour cream. Two key lime pies disappeared in a flash, as did a pecan cake. After so much indulgence, I craved something fresh and somewhat healthy.









Spinach Salad with Berries and a Warm Pancetta Dressing
A salad needn't be mundane. Imagine that you are a wizard, and you've been summoned to a hilltop castle, a place where sunlight pours through the narrow kitchen windows. The lady of the castle has overindulged and cannot fit into her bodice. But you know a healthy cure. You stand next to a worn farmhouse table and raise your hands, ready for the alchemy to begin. You toss in a handful of spinach, then add crispy bits of pancetta, a splash of red wine vinegar, and the tempered wildness of shallots. Chopped egg whites lend a smooth, quiet note. Smile when the plump, lady-like berries patter against the green leaves. For sass, throw in a fistful of herbs. Summon a masculine attitude with a grind of the pepper mill and a splash of Tabasco. 

Imagine the tines of your fork spearing through green leaves,berries, pancetta; a shimmering drop of vinaigrette falls, hits a raspberry, and glides down. On your fork is the taste of summer. Each bite is smooth and rough, warm and cool, sweet and savory: the crunch of toasted walnuts, the salty comfort of pancetta, a shiver of sweetness, a flash of heat.

1 bunch fresh spinach
3 boiled eggs
3 Tablespoon finely chopped shallots
fresh berries
oven toasted walnuts
fresh herbs, chopped (flat-leaf parsley and chives)
1 6 oz package pancetta
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
Tabasco -- three drops (optional)
Sea salt, freshly ground pepper

Boil the eggs. Peel and remove yolks (reserve for another recipe). Chop whites, then set aside. 
Wash and pick over the spinach (remove leggy stems), then dry in a paper-towel lined colander. Chop the herbs and shallots; set aside.
Over a medium flame, cook pancetta in a frying pan until brown and crispy. Remove the cooked bits and leave drippings in the pan. Reduce heat to medium low flame. Add shallots and sautee until they start to turn translucent. Add sugar and wine. Whisk until sugar dissolves and dressing thickens. Season with Tabasco (if desired), salt, and pepper. Remove pan from flame and set aside.
(Note: Tastebuds vary. Adjust the ingredients until the dressing tastes just right to you--more sugar, shallots, vinegar, etc.)
Find a large bowl and prepare the salad--drop in a bunch of spinach, followed by berries and walnuts. Toss gently. Add berries, pancetta, herbs, and egg whites. Spoon the dressing over the salad. 



Shared at:
 Home Sweet Home
Sundays Down Under

19 comments:

  1. This sounds amazing! I love spinach salads, but I usually just end up adding some crumbled bacon over the top. I need to go farther and make a dressing like this. Love your new header too! :)

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  2. As a vegetarian I say yes, we always need another salad recipe! This one looks so flavorful, I'll have to try it!

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  3. Delicious Salad. It really is. I haven't tried to fix this before, but will have to try to imitate as best I can.
    Summer blessings.
    All the best this Summer,
    d

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  4. Very pretty! I would love a big ole bowl of this for lunch today:@)

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  5. Yum. I made something similar recently but without the berries. Now I must try with berries. ;-)

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  6. Your salad looks so fresh and fabulous with the summer berries! I always crave a salad at lunch time and your addition of pancetta sounds delish! I'm in Florida right now, staying at a beach house with family, and we shopped at Publix for the first time. I know you always mention it, and it is a very nice grocery store.
    Enjoy your week. xo

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  7. Thanks ML. I have 4 boxes of black raspberries on the counter. Plenty for shortcake and your lovely salad.

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  8. This looks and sounds delicious. I just crave salad during the summertime, and I love the addition of fruit...not to mention a tasty hot dressing. I'll be trying this soon.

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  9. This salad sounds yummy! With the heat so extreme in Tn at this time what a refreshing treat this would be. Would love to hear more about your pecan cake also.
    Hope you are well, blessing to you and the Ranchburger.

    Mary L

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  10. Yummy! Looks a lot like my lunch today. '-)

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  11. That looks SO good! I wish you could feed me all your delightful foods. I'm afraid my creativity does not extend to food...
    Brenda

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  12. this is so wonderful, colorful and filled with fantastic flavors, I invite you to share at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. ( you can link up through Sat midnight) Hugs!

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  13. This is my kind of salad! Looks delicious! Beautiful, as a matter of fact.

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  14. I love salads with berries and nuts, so this looks absolutely amazing!

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  15. How much would you charge to write recipe or tablescape copy? :) Love your description: "Imagine the tines of your fork spearing through green leaves,berries, pancetta; a shimmering drop of vinaigrette falls, hits a raspberry, and glides down. On your fork is the taste of summer. Each bite is smooth and rough, warm and cool, sweet and savory: the crunch of toasted walnuts, the salty comfort of pancetta, a shiver of sweetness, a flash of heat." Your salad is beautiful and delicious!

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  16. I love walnuts, berries and herbs and what's a salad without a good dressing? The combination certainly makes me want to try this recipe..thanks for sharing.

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  17. Your photos of this salad are gorgeous! Actually, gorgeous with a capital G!

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  18. Such a pretty salad! Thanks for joining Home Sweet Home!

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  19. Gorgeous looking salad and gorgeous photos! Thanks for sharing at the #sundaysdownunder linky party.

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

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