Potato, Bacon, and Blue Cheese Spinach Salad with Warm Mustard and Shallot Dressing

I love a good challenge. I love to try something new in the process as well. Well, that is exactly what happened when I saw a mustard contest on the Stonewall Kitchen blog. Stonewall Kitchen specializes in various jams, jellies, and mustards, as well as gift box collections and kitchen wares. They were looking for bloggers to create recipes using their mustards. After browsing their mustard varieties I decided on their Blue Cheese Herb Mustard.

 

  

 

 The package from Stonewall Kitchen arrived at work and I started to tell my coworkers about the mustard and the recipe contest. I was asking around for their ideas and one of my coworkers suggested a potato salad. That intrigued me because I began to wonder how I could create a recipe around that idea. Would it be mayo based? Would it be vinegar based like German Potato Salad? The more I thought I about it I decided to use that term ‘potato salad’ loosely and develop a salad with potatoes. To tie the Blue Cheese Herb Mustard into the dish would use it in the dressing and use blue cheese in the salad as well. And of course I would have to add bacon so it, because what good salad doesn’t have bacon?

 

 

 

 

The salad is hearty enough to be a whole entrée. The potatoes are flavored from the bacon fat and are crunchy adding a nice element of texture to the salad. The bacon of course adds a great texture to the salad, but it also adds a nice flavor component to it as well. The combination of the bacon and blue cheese reminded me of a burger which tricks the mind into thinking this is filling meal from a salad. The warm dressing is very flavorful with the shallots and the mustard in the vinegar dressing. I didn’t add oil to the dressing because the bacon adds fat to the dish and the shallots were cooked in olive oil. The warm dressing wilts the spinach greens so this dish should be assembled right before serving.

 

 

 

Potato, Bacon, and Blue Cheese Spinach Salad with Warm Mustard and Shallot Dressing

serves 4

Ingredients

  • 7 oz bag of baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 pounds of small potatoes (such as Trader Joes’ teeny tiny potatoes)
  • 1/4 pound thick cut bacon (approximately 4 slices)
  • 2 large shallots
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 4 tablespoons Blue Cheese Herb Mustard
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 oz of crumbled blue cheese

Process

  1. Rinse the baby spinach and set aside in a large bowl.
  2. Rinse and halve the potatoes. In a medium pot, bring water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until fork tender. Strain the potatoes and set aside.
  3. Cut bacon into small pieces and cook in a large skillet on medium-low heat until the bacon is cooked thru. Set aside on paper towels. Drain off the bacon fat reserving 2 tablespoons in the skillet.
  4. Turn up the heat for the skillet to medium-high and add the potatoes. Let sides of the potatoes to crisp up before stirring them. Make sure each potato is crisp before removing them from the skillet and setting aside on a plate.
  5. Thinly slice the shallots. Gently cook the shallots on medium-low heat in the skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once the onions are softened and golden brown, add in the wine and 2 tablespoons of mustard. Mix together until the mustard is incorporated into the wine and shallots.
  6. While the shallots are cooking, mix together the vinegar, garlic, remaining 2 tablespoons mustard, red pepper flake, and salt and pepper in a medium size bowl. When the shallots are done add them to the dressing in the bowl.
  7. It is now time to assemble the salad. Gently toss the dressing into the salad. Layer the potatoes, blue cheese, and bacon on the salad.

As part of entering this Stonewall Kitchen Mustard Contest I received a complimentary jar of mustard to use in creating a recipe.

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Thanks for visiting. Please leave me a comment to provide some feedback. I appreciate all the comments I receive. 

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Spinach Salad with Shrimp, Avocado, and Grapefruit with Citrus Vinaigrette

I love salads so much. I really hate that we have the tendency to skip over salads in the winter or automatically go for ones that have cranberries in them or whatever to make them ‘wintery’. They are perfectly fine salads but I wanted to make one that was not something that you would expect to see in winter, but that is in season now.

 

 

Citrus is in season in the winter. As much as we enjoy our lemonades and margaritas in the summer the best season for domestic citrus is the winter. The citrus vinaigrette is light since it is mixed with a light vinegar and some water. I felt that the lime and vinegar combination could result with a tart dressing so I cut it will some water to dilute it. If you prefer a more intense vinegar then don’t add water, but you may like to add a pinch of sugar to balance it out.

 

 

According to Produce Pete Florida avocados are in season now. They are in season from late June to February. Why use a Florida avocado? The texture us much different from a Hass-variety so it can stand up well to being mixed into a salad. They are much firmer compared to Hass avocados, which are great for guacamole.

 

Spinach Salad with Shrimp, Avocado, and Grapefruit with Citrus Vinaigrette 

*serves 2 as a main, serves 4 as a starter*

Spinach Salad with Shrimp, Avocado, and Grapefruit

Ingredients

  • 8 oz of baby spinach
  • 1/2 a Florida avocado
  • 1 large ruby red grapefruit
  • 1/2 pound of shrimp, 36-40’s
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Process

  1. Wash and pat dry the spinach, plate.
  2. Halve the avocado. Remove the peel and then slice thin wedges from the avocado. Layer on the salad evenly.
  3. Peel the grapefruit and then carefully peel the membranes away from the segments. Evenly distribute the segments on the salad.
  4. Rinse and remove the tails from the shrimp. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the shrimp.
  5. Over medium heat, warm the oil in a large skillet. Cook the shrimp, flipping after 2 minutes, cook until evenly pink.
  6. Add the warm shrimp to the salad and then top with some of the citrus vinaigrette.

Citrus Vinaigrette 

Ingredients

  • 2 limes
  • 1 orange
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 oz rice vinegar
  • 2 oz water
  • 2 oz extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Process

  1. Squeeze the limes and orange.
  2. Add the garlic, vinegar, water, oil, and salt and pepper.
  3. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated.