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Salad of Baby Spinach, Crispy Bacon and Cheese Croutons

posted: 06/30/10
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Salad of Baby Spinach, Crispy Bacon and Cheese Croutons
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Episode 97: Adriana's Menu

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 14.5-ounce/411-g loaf crusty sourdough bread
  • 2 ounces/55 g butter
  • 1 ounce/30 g sharp cheddar cheese or dry Monterey Jack cheese, finely shredded
  • 3 tablespoons/45 ml red wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons/90 ml grape seed oil
  • 1 tablespoon/about 2.5 g roughly chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 cups/160 g fresh baby spinach, washed and stems removed
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved

PREPARATION:

TO PREPARE THE CHEESE CROUTONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400?F/205?C. Using a serrated bread knife, remove the crusts from the sourdough bread then tear or cut the bread into 1-inch/2.5-cm pieces.
  2. Place the bread pieces on a baking sheet. Toast the bread in the oven for 8 minutes or until it is dry and crisp, stirring the bread pieces halfway through baking to ensure they cook evenly.
  3. Melt the butter in a heavy based large saut? pan over a medium heat. Add the croutons and toss to coat with the butter. Arrange the butter-coated croutons closely together but in a single layer on the same baking sheet.
  4. Sprinkle the cheese generously over the croutons and return to the oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the croutons are golden. Remove the croutons from the oven and set aside until cool.

TO PREPARE THE VINAIGRETTE DRESSING:

  1. Place the vinegar in a medium sized bowl. Slowly add the oil whilst constantly whisking to blend. Whisk in the parsley. Season the vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper.

TO PREPARE THE CRISPY BACON AND SERVE THE SALAD:

  1. Preheat a grill pan or griddle over moderate heat and grill the bacon about 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until nice and crisp. Transfer the bacon to paper towels.
  2. Meanwhile, toss the baby spinach leaves in a large bowl with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the salad among 4 serving plates. Place the bacon over the salads. Garnish the salads with the cherry tomatoes and croutons, and serve.
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