Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Warm Spinach Salad with Mushroom Vinaigrette

Because it's warm, this salad makes a great light supper in cold months, alongside a bowl of soup and some meaty olives or dinner rolls.  Tonight I had my salad with the chunky vegetable soup from Amy's.  I had a great time experimenting with trompe l'oeil hard-boiled eggs, and I'll have more details on how to go about that below

  • 6 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 and 1/2 cups torn radicchio
  • 2 tablespoons (1/2-inch) sliced green onions
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 3 and 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 trompe l'oeil hard-boiled eggs*
1. Combine the spinach, radicchio, and green onion slices in a large bowl; set aside.

2. Remove the stems from the shiitake mushroom; discard the stems and reserve the caps.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the shiitake caps and saute for 5 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium, then add the sage, thyme, and garlic; saute for 3 minutes.

Note: if you prefer, you can use 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme here, in place of the fresh herbs.

3. Stir in the sherry vinegar, salt, and pepper, and bring the mixture to a boil.  Once boiling, remove from heat.

4. Pour the hot mushroom mixture over the spinach mixture, and toss well to coat.  Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar.  Place about 1 cup of salad on each of 4 plates, and top each serving with 2 pieces of trompe l'oeil egg.  Serve this salad while it's still warm, as per the title of the recipe! 

*To make hard-boiled eggs, lite firm tofu works well for the egg white.  I simply cut it into slices about as big as a hard-boiled egg quarter, and round the edges slightly (a very small spoon like an espresso spoon works well for this purpose).  Cut out a similar indent in the center of the tofu, where the yolk would go.  For the yolk, bring 1/4 cup water to a boil in a saucepan.  Add 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal, and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Let the mixture cool (it will continue to thicken as it cools).  Stir with a fork, and add 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric for a little more vivid color, then carefully dab some of this 'yolk' into the indented space in each of your tofu pieces.  You'll probably have some leftover cornmeal mixture, since this recipe only called for 8 hard-boiled egg quarters, and you don't want to add too much to each tofu piece.  Voila! Hard-boiled eggs.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (1 cup salad and 2 tofu egg pieces), Calories 105 

Tasting Notes:
A touch too vinegary for my taste.  The radicchio held its own against the vinegar better than the spinach, so I might recommend increasing the amount of the former and decreasing the amount of the latter, to even out the taste.  The mushroom topping was delicious, however, and my little hard-boiled eggs purely fun.


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