The lettuce and spinach that I planted, way back in the cold snap of our early spring, is growing gang busters. I love it. So how many of you people planted either some lettuce seeds or lettuce plants in a little corner, or amongst your flowers or vegetable garden. Everybody should be saying “I did.”
Baby Spinach and Bacon with Pickled Onions and Feta
I mixed the spinach with leaf lettuce and added some chickpeas instead of bacon. When I use bacon I will take the extra effort and go to Burt Farms and pick up the picnic bacon that they make there. Excellent flavour and very little fat. The pickled onions will keep in the fridge easily for a month or two, ready to be used to top of a variety of salads: tuna, avocado, tomato, chickpea.
FOR THE PICKLED RED ONIONS
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of red wine vinegar
1 tsp of your favourite hot sauce
A sprinkle of salt and pepper
1 large red onion, sliced into thin rounds
FOR THE SALAD
8 slices of bacon, diced (add 1/2 or 1 cup chickpeas instead)
4 Tbsp of red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp of brown sugar
2 Tbsp sunflower seed or grape seed oil
2 tsp of your favourite mustard
10 ounces of baby spinach (I add leaf lettuce)
8 ounces of feta or goat or your favourite cheese
1. Make the pickled red onions first. Put the sugar, vinegar, hot sauce, salt, and pepper into a small pot and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add the onion and heat just long enough to return the mixture to a simmer, 2 or 3 minutes. Cool to room temperature. For best results, let the mixture sit overnight in the fridge.
2. When it is salad time, brown the bacon pieces until they’re crispy. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and let the bacon drain on a piece of paper towel.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, oil, and mustard until smooth.
4. Just before serving, toss the dressing with spinach and lettuce leaves and top with the feta, bacon, and pickled red onions. Serve.
***When you are picking your lettuce from the garden pick early morning or late evening (do not pick when the sun is on the lettuce) wash right away and then place in a bowl in the fridge. This will make the lettuce crisp up nicely.
**the mustard acts as an emulsifier, helping the oil and vinegar combine into a smooth dressing. I usually replace sugar in any salad dressing with either honey or maple syrup.