Even though I’m like, super duper prepared for fall to be here; I’m still stuck in that summer state of mind.
I feel like the last few dog days of summer are sticking around like a rash you can’t kick. The cicadas are still serenading in the evenings, the temperatures are still rising to sweltering degrees in the afternoons, and the allure of ice cream never leaves your consciousness.
Summer. Can’t live with it, can’t live without it.
Since I’m trying to turn these last few weeks of summer into fall (I’m a very impatient person, don’t you know) I decided I would honor the summer of ’16 with one last farewell: a nice, summery dinner of salad.
You may be thinking, “Salad? Really? You’re going to honor a season with salad??”
Yep. I am. Salad is the ultimate summer meal. It’s light, fulfilling, and doesn’t make you break a sweat while you eat it. It’s the perfect summer meal.
This salad, by the way, is a treat. You soak your sliced shallots in some white wine vinegar to make a quick-pickled shallot. You crumble some bacon over the top to add that saltiness you so desperately seek. You toss the spinach in a light dressing made of rice vinegar and walnut oil. You saute the chicken in the bacon grease with a dash of smoked paprika.
Doesn’t that all sound amazing? I couldn’t stop eating this salad yesterday. I dreamed of it last night. I took an early lunch break today because I couldn’t wait to get my paws on it. It’s that good.
Spinach Salad with Bacon & Chicken
A simple salad composed of grapes, shallots, roasted pepitas, bacon, chicken & spinach.
- 4 slices bacon
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 TBS. white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup walnut oil
- 1 TBS. chopped tarragon
- salt & pepper
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 10 oz. baby spinach
- 1 1/2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
- 1/4 cup salted, roasted pepitas
- In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium high heat until crispy, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
- Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Cook over medium high heat in bacon drippings for about 4-5 minutes per side until cooked through and juices run clear. Set aside to let cool and then chop into bite-size pieces.
- In a small bowl, soak shallots in white wine vinegar for about 10-20 minutes or until ready to assemble the salad.
- Make the dressing: stir together rice vinegar, walnut oil, and tarragon until well emulsified.
- Assemble the salad: Toss spinach with pepitas, grapes and shallots (don’t add the vinegar they were soaking in). Add the dressing slowly and toss with a fork. Top with chicken and crumbled bacon.
Cook bacon in large skillet over medium high heat until crispy, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.
Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Add chicken to bacon drippings and cook for 4-5 minutes per side over medium-high heat or until juices run clear. Transfer to a plate to cool and then chop into bite-sized pieces.
In a small bowl, soak shallots in white wine vinegar for 10-20 minutes.
Make the dressing: stir rice vinegar, walnut oil and tarragon together until well emulsified.
Assemble the salad: toss the spinach with grapes, pepitas, and shallots (throw away the vinegar they were soaking in). Pour dressing over salad and toss some more until everything is well coated. Top with chicken and bacon and serve.