Monday, August 2, 2010

Spinach Salad With Sun-dried Tomato Vinaigrette

This recipe came from one of those happy accidents we all sometimes have. Serendipity! (Does anyone remember those books?) I was making a Caesar salad for dinner one night, and I realized I was out of both eggs and anchovy paste! See, I meant it when I said I'm really bad at planning ahead! Anyway, I had half of a vinaigrette made, so I looked in the refrigerator for something to make it pop, worthy of a dinner salad. There, far, far back on the shelf, was a nearly empty jar of sun-dried tomatoes. Hmmm....

I put the ingredients for the dressing I'd already mixed in my food processor and emptied the jar of sun-dried tomatoes. I had about 2 tablespoons of sun-dried tomatoes, and almost a quarter cup of sun-dried tomato-flavored oil. Whiz, whiz, taste - amazing! Tart and tangy, it needed something a little creamy and fatty to offset it. Aha! Avocado and goat cheese! Dinner is done! Et tu Caesar? Who needs ya'?!

Spinach Salad With Sun-dried Tomato Vinaigrette

  • 1 bag of baby spinach leaves (wash again, no matter what the bag says!)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 2 oz. soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves (I use the flowers from my plants too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • splash of balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, plus as much of the oil as you can get out of the jar
  • olive oil

  1. Place the mustard, garlic, herbs and vinegars in your food processor, and process to combine. You want the garlic to be very finely minced and the herbs well broken-down as well. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the oil from the tomato jar to the food processor. If you need to, supplement with olive oil. Buzz to combine again.
  3. Assemble your salad and dress, or toss well before serving.

To make it a meal, you can add black olives and leftover cooked chicken (come to think of it, grilled shrimp might be good on this too!) Serve with crusty bread and a white or rose wine.

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