Dave and I have been enjoying delicious food and friendship with our Dinner Club for many years. The four couples meet every 2 to 4 months for a dinner which the host plans. They then assign the other 3 couples one recipe to make. This past weekend our assigned recipe was one the host experienced at a cooking class in Bay City, Michigan at Fusion 1 Café.
This spinach salad is reminiscent of the 1970s version which includes red onion, chopped egg, bacon pieces and a red wine vinaigrette. The Fusion 1 Café recipe goes beyond this, adding northern beans to the dressing. Bacon is substituted with a crumbly mix of toasted whole grain bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. I used a very hearty whole grain bread which is my favorite choice Kroger Private Selections Artisian Multi- Grain Boule.
This is a hearty salad which can be a nice lunch or light dinner.
2 slices multi-grain bread (the larger middle slices of a round boule)(dry overnight on a rack on the counter)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, high quality such as Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped (use generous size cloves)
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
1 pound great northern beans, (I used 1-15 ounce can, slightly drained.)
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 pound baby spinach (I used 10 ounces for 8 people)
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced and soaked in ice water for 5 minutes
1 yellow bell pepper, thin julienned sliced
Shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese as needed
2 hard boiled eggs
- In a food processor place the dried bread, parmesan, 2 tablespoons oil, salt and pepper. Pulse until ground and combined.
- Toast the mixture in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside.
- Place a skillet over medium heat.
- Add the 3/4 cup olive oil and heat. Add the garlic and rosemary.
- Cook only 1 minute or less. Do not brown.
- Add beans and cook on low for 7 minutes.
- Stir in tomatoes, vinegar and Dijon. Remove from heat.
- In a large salad bowl place spinach, onion and sliced pepper.
- Pour bean mixture over all. Add the cheese and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Shred the eggs over all and top with bread crumb mixture.
- Present at the table and toss slightly to serve.