Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spinach salad with Caramelized Onion Balsamic Dressing

The spinach in my garden is going crazy and is ready to eat! (So is the lettuce.) I had a few people over for dinner last night (I made the chicken parmesan chronicled here), and wanted to do something special with the spinach. I found a good recipe in my Rachel Ray cookbook called "Caramelized Onion-Dressed Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts". With a few modifications, this was fantastic!

Here's what you need:
- 1/2 cup toasted (in advance or day-of) hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
- 6 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- salt and pepper
- 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 to 1 cup chopped red pepper (the recipe calls for tomatoes, but red peppers looked better)
- 4-6 cups fresh spinach (it says you can use arugula or other greens, but spinach was awesome)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

Here's what to do:
- Heat 2 Tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add 1 Tablespoon balsamic and 1-2 Tablespoons water. Cook and stir for another minute or so.
- Transfer onions to a bowl and add the mustard and remaining balsamic.
- Whisk in the remaining olive oil until the base is creamy (but with onion chunks, of course).
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Assemble the salad in a large bowl - the spinach, peppers, hazelnuts, and blue cheese. Top with the dressing and toss until well-combined.
- Eat and enjoy!

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