Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year’s Day Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing – Good Luck with That!

This spinach salad with black-eyed peas is a twist on one of my favorite American culinary traditions; the custom of serving beans and greens on New Year's Day. Supposedly eating "poor" on New Year’s Day brings much wealth and good luck throughout the year.

The greens, usually braised with ham or sausage, represents paper money, and the beans, usually black-eyed peas, symbolize coins. Here, we’re presenting those ingredients in salad form, which is a great delivery system for our hot bacon dressing– the true star in this video.

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is, “Eat more bacon,” then here’s another delicious way to work it into your diet. This peppery, sweet and tangy sauce is fast to make, and shines on other things besides wealth-generating spinach salads.

Wouldn’t this be great in a warm potato and mushroom salad, as well as a sauce for a grilled chicken breast or pork chop? What about spooned over poached eggs, or slathered on sweet potato fries? Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

If making and eating this salad on January 1st doesn’t really bring you prosperity in 2012, it will certainly bring you some tasty memories, and other pleasures money can’t buy. Happy New Year, and enjoy!

Hot Bacon Dressing Ingredients: (makes about 1 1/3 cup – or 6 servings)
1/2 pound bacon, sliced and cooked in 1/4 cup vegetable oil (reserve bacon pieces and bacon fat drippings)
1/2 cup minced onions
2 cloves minced garlic
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/3 cup of the bacon fat drippings
1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tsp cold water
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne to taste
For 6 Spinach Salads:
1 pound baby spinach, washed and dried
12 white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
1 (15-oz) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

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