So, I hit my favorite market in Springboro, Ohio, and try to figure out what I'm cooking for the weekend. I had pretty much decided that for Battle Bell Pepper I would make a couple of dishes...a pasta dish and a roasted red pepper coulis on some chicken, but then I thought about what I would cook on Sunday. I decided to do a tart on Saturday, and cook something with more meat on Sunday.
So, I headed to the meat department to see what they had for Sunday, and saw a beautiful Boston Butt roast. I grabbed that, not really knowing what to do with it, and decided to go with a tart for Saturday night. I had most of the ingredients I needed for the tart, but I realized that I needed something to go with it...a nice spinach salad, perhaps?
A spinach salad sounded good, but a wilted spinach salad sounded even better. I went to the meat counter and got a 1/4 pound of bacon to go with it, with some other thoughts starting to coalesce about that salad.
I got home, and sliced thin 1 1/2 large onions and 4 bell peppers. I put those in a large skillet with a 1/8 cup olive oil, tossed the mixture to coat everything with the olive oil, and then covered to start the cooking process. I also made the dough for the tart shell, and let that rest on the counter. With that done, I let the onions and peppers cook until thoroughly caramelized, and then pre-baked the tart crust.
As the onions and peppers were cooking, I mixed together some ricotta, goat cheese, and parmesan cheese for coating the tart shell. When the tart shell came out of the oven, I let it cool a bit, and then covered the tart with the cheese, and then put the onions and peppers on top of that. I threw on some cubed pepperoni for some spiciness, sprinkled on some more parmesan cheese, and then covered the whole thing with another piece of pastry dough. I popped that in the oven, and then turned to the salad.
I hard cooked some eggs, washed the spinach and chopped the bacon. I popped the bacon into a skillet and let that start to cook and render the fat. When the bacon was done, I turned down the heat, spooned out the bacon, and then threw in a handful of pecans. I dusted those with some Chipotle chile powder, and let the pecans saute for a while. Meanwhile, I took one other red pepper, and minced it.
I filled some large pasta bowls with the spinach, and then poured the pecan and hot bacon fat on top. I threw on some minced hard cooked egg, the minced red pepper, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. I tossed all that, and served it while it was nice and hot.
So, to make a long story short, Susan loved the salad. It really was good...too good, really. It was a meal in and of itself. That salad along with a baguette and some really good butter would have been plenty for dinner. But, I had worked hard on the tart, so I insisted that we have at least a bit of it. I really liked it, but Susan was right...it was very dense and rich. It would have been good by itself, but following a wilted spinach salad, it was just a little too much.
So there you have it....the salad that was little more than an afterthought turned out to be a bigger hit than the main course!