Caramelized Shallots and Strawberry Salad with Spinach, Bacon, and Toasted Almonds // @2souschefs

“This past weekend we were set to task to come up with ideas for dishes for a blogger who had just went strawberry picking. The picking of the sweet berries was the easy part; the big question looming is what to do with the spoils of the harvest. The two recipes we were inspired to create are a strawberry and white balsamic vinaigrette to go along with a caramelized shallot and strawberry salad with spinach, bacon, and toasted almonds.

Strawberries, bacon, and spinach salads have graced restaurant menus time and time again and as such we were hesitant to present this, as some may say, tired idea. However, the more Andi and I discussed this idea of “cliché salads,” the more we discovered there is a reason people love Caesar salads, wedge salads, and even spinach, bacon, and strawberry salads: they simply taste amazing. A strawberry vinaigrette underscores the wonder that is this salad combination. The addition of white balsamic vinegar, caramelized shallots, and toasted almonds sounded too good not to add to the dish. This recipe will serve two as dinner.

Blenders are vital to any professional or home kitchen, from mixing the salad dressing in this recipe to pureeing soups to crushing ice for the next round of margaritas. While our current rental came fully furnished, we brought some of our personal tools we deemed necessary for our cooking style. One necessary item is our KitchenAid blender.” – Joe

For the Strawberry and White Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 1 pint strawberries – stems removed and quartered
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 0.25 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 0.5 cup olive oil

Directions

  1. Place the strawberries and agave in a one-quart sauce pot and place on medium-low heat.
  2. Cook the mixture for about ten minutes, stirring regularly, until the berries are completely soft.
  3. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.
  4. In a bowl whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, and a quarter cup of the strawberry puree.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.

For the Spinach Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 pint strawberries – stems removed and quartered
  • 4 strips bacon – cut into half inch pieces
  • 3 medium sized shallots – papery skin removed, cut into round slices
  • 0.25 cups almonds – toasted
  • 2 to 3 cups spinach – washed and dried

Directions

  1. Place the bacon into a skillet on medium heat and cook the bacon until crispy.
  2. Remove the bacon from the pan and place on a paper towel lined plate.
  3. Discard almost all the rendered bacon fat, leaving some in the pan, add the shallots and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until slightly caramelized.
  4. Remove shallots from the pan and place on the same paper towel lined plate as the bacon.
  5. Place the spinach at the bottom of the serving bowl and top with the quartered strawberries, bacon, caramelized shallots, and toasted almonds.
  6. Drizzle the vinaigrette atop the salad or serve on the side.

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