Wilted Spinach Salad with Pickled Shallots
Scott Linquist, chef at Border Grill, taught us this terrific technique for wilting spinach leaves right in the bowl. It immediately opens the leaves' pores so they absorb the dressing quickly--necessitating only a small amount of dressing for lots of flavor.
To toast pepitas, heat a dry skillet over medium heat and add the seeds. Toast shaking, the pan frequently, until lightly browned. Remove from the heat and add a dash of soy sauce, swirling the pan to coat the pepitas evenly. Add to salads while still warm.
Service4 to 6
Cooking Methodpickling, preserving, sauteeing
Total Timeunder 1 hour
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe Coursemain course, side dish
Dietary Considerationmain course, side dish
Taste and Texturecrunchy, nutty, tangy, tart
Type of Dishfirst course salad, main course salad, salad, warm salad
- 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 small bunches spinach, stems removed, washed, and dried
- 10 pickled shallots, recipe follows, sliced into rings
- ½ cup pepitas, toasted (see Notes)
- ½ cup crumbled feta or anejo cheese (optional)
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 cup dry red wine
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons coarse salt
- 20 medium shallots, peeled
For the Shallots:
Combine the vinegar, wine, brown sugar, peppercorns, mustard seeds, chile flakes, and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the shallots and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Set aside to cool completely in the liquid.
Transfer the shallots and all their liquid to a jar or plastic container. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
For the Salad:
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
Just before serving, assemble all of the ingredients for the salad on the counter. Turn on a stovetop burner to medium-high. Set a large stainless steel bowl over the burner and heat until very hot. Using an oven mitt or pot holder to protect your hands, pour the vinaigrette into the bowl and swirl for a minute or two, until the vinaigrette is hot. Quickly throw in the spinach and shallots and toss the salad with tongs to coat evenly. When the spinach begins to wilt, remove from the heat and transfer to serving plates. Sprinkle with the toasted pepitas and the cheese if desired. Serve immediately.
1997 Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger