Several of you noticed in my Toast of the Town blog the other day the mention of an Asian -inspired warm spinach salad and inquired about the recipe. It’s great as a summer side dish, but also makes the base of a fabulous entree salad, topped with grilled salmon or stir-fried shrimp, chicken, or beef.
Always, happy to oblige, I include it forthwith; it’s up to you not to burn the sesame seeds.
Oh, and you’ll note the carb count for a serving (about 1 1/2 cups of the spinach plus a share of all the rest) comes in at a hair over 8 grams. Much of that comes from the add ins (red onion, ginger, shallot) which you can cut back a little bit and not lose much in the way of flavor, if you choose, to make a little more room in an intervention carb budget for something else. In maintenance, it’s plenty low enough.
Warm Sesame and Ginger Spinach Salad
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
6 slices pancetta, diced coarsely
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 small shallot, diced fine
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 packet Splenda or Stevia (optional)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½” squeeze prepared wasabi paste
1 red onion, sliced thinly
1 packet pickled ginger, drained, rinsed, and sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
6 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
1. Toast the sesame seeds over a low flame until just turning golden; set aside.
2. In a skillet, fry the pancetta in the sesame oil over medium high heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Leave oil in skillet, but turn heat off or to the lowest simmer, depending on how long it will be until you plan to eat the salad.
3. In a small heat-proof bowl, combine the shallots, vinegar, sweetener, wasabi paste, salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Add the red onion slices and allow them to marinate in the vinegar mixture for at least 10 minutes to remove some of their bite. Remove onions from the vinegar with a slotted spoon and set them aside.
4. When ready to assemble (and eat) the salad, place the fresh spinach, pancetta, pickled ginger, and onion in a large salad bowl and have ready.
5. Return the skillet to medium high heat to get the oil hot, but not smoking. Turn off the heat and drizzle the hot oil into the vinegar mixture, whisking all the while.
6. Immediately pour the hot dressing over the spinach salad and toss quickly to coat evenly and slightly wilt the leaves. Sprinkle on the toasted sesame seeds and give another quick toss to distribute them throughout.
7. Enjoy immediately.
Protein per serving: 11.4 grams
Effective Carb per serving: 8.3 grams