Orange, Blue Cheese, and Pecan Spinach Salad
A bacon dressing tastes great, but we wanted a fresher approach to this typically rich, heavy salad.
Why This Recipe Works
A bacon dressing tastes great in spinach salad recipes, but is there a fresher approach to this typically rich, heavy salad? We thought so. We found that tender flat-leaf and baby spinach became soft and mushy when tossed with hot dressing. The heartier curly-leaf variety, wilted until just tender, stood up to the heat just fine. Instead of the traditional bacon and bacon fat, we built our spinach salad recipe with a base of fruity extra-virgin olive oil. We also swapped out the sharp vinegar most spinach salad recipes call for in favor of fresh citrus juice—and added a strip of zest to the hot oil to infuse the dressing with even more citrus flavor. Soft crumbled cheese beefed up our salad without bogging it down, especially when we quickly froze the cheese to prevent it from melting in the heat of the dressing. Preparing the dressing in a Dutch oven and allowing the spinach to cook off the heat, covered with the dressing, for just 30 seconds produced a perfect, evenly wilted spinach salad.
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