Inspired by the Testaccio Market–where I led a group of enthusiastic clients earlier this week–and the sunshine as my accomplice, I opted for salad as my lunch. The warmth of spring has finally exploded (and so has the pollen surge, ah-t-choo!). When that happens after a long, bleak winter, I find myself consuming ridiculous quantities of fresh green verdura. The salad I'll be making today is a rich and tasty Insalata di Spinaci ~ warm spinach salad: the 80's in a salad bowl.
The heated pancetta drippings wilt the fresh spinach leaves, and along with the crumbled hard-boiled egg, provide this preparation with a subtle diversity of flavors and textures.
Here's what you need for 4 eaters:
10-12 oz triple washed baby spinach leaves, stems removed
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 hard-cooked eggs, 1 chopped, 1 sliced
5 strips of pancetta
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon water
Salt & black pepper to taste
Place the dry spinach leaves in a large bowl. Add the chopped onions and refrigerate, tightly covered.
Fry the pancetta until crisp. Save the drippings, but remove the strips to a paper towel and set aside. In a small jar or measuring cup combine pancetta drippings with sugar, vinegar, water, salt and pepper. Refrigerate all ingredients until just before serving. When ready to serve, microwave the dressing on HIGH for 30-45 seconds, or until the mixture boils. Toss the chopped egg with the spinach, then pour the hot dressing over them; tossing again lightly. Top with sliced egg and crumbled bacon.
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