Baby Spinach with Pears, Spiced Pecans, Goat Cheese and Smoked Bacon
I have never been a big fan of the traditional green salad. Ask my wife. She's always telling me to "Eat your greens." I don't blame her for trying but maybe my refusal lies somewhere back in the day when salads were just uninspired and bland. Salads laden with unimaginative bottled dressing. Nobody is at fault but that's just the way things were back then.
Luckily, things have changed over time. As the seasons shifted from warm and sunny to cold and damp my salad preferences shift with them. The cool refreshing summer salads have been replaced by warm salads with texture. Hot bits of flavour with dressings that ooze great taste. Early winter salads that don't compromise. Now that's my type of salad.
I really enjoy fruit in my salads in the winter and pears bring something special to the table. With that in mind I decided to make a sweet, smokey and crunchy salad for dinner tonight. Baby Spinach with Pears, Spiced Pecans, Goat Cheese and Bacon with a Sweet Mustard Dressing. It has everything I love in a winter salad. Sweet, juicy pears matched with rich, creamy goat cheese, toasted honey pecans, smokey bacon and a sweet dressing that lets all the flavours come together.
This salad is the perfect balance of sweet, salty and savoury. The smooth textures and the crunchy ones play with each other in every mouthful. It's the perfect answer to the salad you grew up on.
Baby Spinach with Pears, Pecans, Goat Cheese and Bacon
...for the dressing:
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/3 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and cracked fresh pepper
...for the salad:
4 cups baby spinach
2 medium ripe pears
3/4 cup pecans, toasted
pinch cayenne pepper
2 tbsp. honey
4 bacon slices, cut in thirds
3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine honey, salt and cayenne and toss in the pecans until coated. Spread on a lined baking sheet in a single layer and bake until toasted, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. In a small bowl combine the cider vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and sugar and whisk. Slowly add in the olive oil and whisk until emulsified. Season and set aside.
3. Pan fry the bacon for a few minutes per side until golden brown. Drain and reserve.
4. Toss the baby spinach with most of the dressing in a bowl, reserving about a quarter. Plate the spinach. Halve and core and cut the pears into thin strips and toss the pear slices with the toasted pecans in the same bowl the spinach was tossed in.
5. Add the pears and pecans to the spinach and place bacon strips on top. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and place crumbled goat cheese over top.
|Baby Spinach with Spiced Pecans, Pears, Bacon and Goat Cheese with Sweet Mustard Dressing.|