Spinach Pear Salad
This recipe for spinach pear salad comes from "Seattle Kitchen" by Tom Douglas.
FOR THE CURRIED CASHEWS
- 3/4 cup cashews (about 3 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
FOR THE HONEY-SESAME VINAIGRETTE
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil or peanut oil
FOR THE SALAD
- 1/2 pound smokey slab bacon, sliced (about twelve 1/4-inch-thick slices)
- 12 cups loosely packed spinach leaves, washed well, dried, stems trimmed, and torn into pieces if leaves are large
- 6 cups loosely packed frisee, stems trimmed, washed, dried, and torn into bite-size pieces
- 2/3 cup thinly sliced red onions
- 3 small pears, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
- 6 small bunches grapes
To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, honey, sesame seeds, garlic, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil. Set aside.
To make the curried cashews, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet, toast the cashews until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the melted butter, rosemary, curry powder, brown sugar, salt, and cayenne in a bowl. Add the toasted cashews while they are still hot and toss with a rubber spatula so they are thoroughly coated with the spices and butter. Leave the oven on to cook the bacon.
Put the bacon on a baking sheet, place it in the oven, and cook until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan and cut the slices into 1-inch pieces. Keep the bacon warm.
In a large bowl, combine the spinach, frisee, red onions, and sliced pears. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat everything well. Divide the salad among 6 plates. Garnish each salad with pieces of warm bacon and spiced cashews. Set a grape cluster on the side of each salad.