Quick Bites from Pender

Wilted Spinach & Oyster Mushroom Salad, Warm Goat`s Cheese Dressing

In Recipes on July 6, 2010 at 5:02 am

wilted-spinach-wild-mushroom-salad

Summertime is salad-for-dinner time.  Am I right?

So what do you do when, 2 weeks after summer solstice, the sun has appeared for a total of 3 1/2 hours, and dinner on the deck means long pants and long sleeves?

I figured if I had to wear a sweater, then the salad probably needed a warm-up too.  And as I found out, cashmere isn’t the only goat product with excellent thermal properties.

oyster-mushroom-gills

Mushrooms and spinach are great seasonal picks at this time of year.

Spinach from a farmer’s market is a little different than the pre-washed-in-a-bag-variety, so take your time washing it.  Remove the spinach from the water in (gentle) handfuls to avoid pouring the gritty water back over the greens when you drain them.

Oyster mushrooms are fragile — except for those thick stems.  Trim and discard, or add them to a stock you may have on the go.  Morels are another seasonal mushroom option that would work well in this salad.

warm-goats-cheese-dressing

This recipe reads as more complicated and involved than it actually is.  Just ensure you do all of your prep before you start cooking, and cook everything on medium or a bit lower, so that the pace is manageable.  If you prefer to omit the bacon, simply substitute the bacon fat with olive oil.

Seasoning salad greens with a little s+p builds flavour.  It takes a homemade salad to a home run salad — try it.

Wilted Spinach & Oyster Mushroom Salad with Warm Goat`s Cheese

Yield:  4 first-course or 2 main-course servings

Baby Spinach 1 bunch
Oyster Mushrooms 5-6 oz 150 g
Olive Oil 2 T 30 ml
White Wine 3 T 45 ml
Garlic, minced 1 clove
Bacon, thick sliced 3 slices
Red Onion, julienned ½ small
Soft Unripened Goat’s Cheese 3 oz 60 g
Cider Vinegar 3 T 30 ml
Sugar ½ t 3 ml
s+p TT

oz=ounces         g=grams       t=teaspoon       T=tablespoon
ml=millilitres    TT=to taste

Prep:

  • Trim the stems from the spinach, and wash in lots of clean, tepid water.  Spin or towel dry, put in a large salad bowl and toss with s+p.  Set aside.
  • In a small jar with lid, combine the crumbled goat’s cheese, vinegar, sugar and a pinch of s+p.  Shake well to combine.
  • Trim the large, tough stems from the mushrooms and discard.  Smaller stems are tender and can be left on.  Tear the large mushrooms into strips and leave the small ones whole.
  • Cut the bacon crosswise into ½” pieces.

Cooking:

Heat the olive oil in a small saute pan over med. heat until shimmering.  Add the mushrooms and cook, undisturbed, for 1 minute.  Gently stir the mushrooms and continue to cook until they have released their water and it has evaporated from the pan.  Pour in the wine, and simmer rapidly until the pan is almost dry.  Reduce the heat to med. low, add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender, about 2 minutes more.  Remove the pan from the heat and cover to keep warm.

While the mushrooms cook, heat another small (preferably cast iron) pan over medium heat.  Fry bacon until just crisp.  Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on towelling.  Reduce the heat to med. low, pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat, and sweat the onions until they soften (do not brown).  Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the goat’s cheese dressing.  Stir until the cheese is melted and smooth.

Assembly:

Combine the mushrooms, bacon and dressing with the spinach, and toss gently.  Working quickly, divide the salad on plates and garnish with cracked pepper.  Serve immediately.

wilted-spinach-salad

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  1. I love oyster mushrooms. I pick them up at our local farmers’ market almost every time I go. What a nice combination with spinach. This will be on our home menu soon.

  2. oh that salad looks so good!! and did I mention I love Bacon!!!
    great pic of Koda, but I dont know if he would have like Tiny Tims voice!!

    • Actually, Chef D, you would be surprised (as were we when we first heard it) at the “girly sounding” bark most Shiba Inus have…he also has this yowl that he makes to welcome us home — very similar to that of a 6 year girl who just had her toe stepped on…

  3. Beautiful! I have gone crazy this year for oyster mushrooms and your way of doing it looks like another thing for me to use them in!

  4. I wasn’t “into” this at all when I saw the title, but as I started reading and looking at the pictures, you got me hooked. I’ll bet it will incredible. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    • Both Howard and I really liked the salad…the dressing is amazing…please let me know what you think if you try it! Theresa

  5. Love this dressing…and the salad sounds wonderful:)

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