pea shoot and spinach salad with shiitakes and bacon
A few weeks ago when spring was just around the corner, we went on an entree salad kick so severe that I could not keep up with blogging all the ones we tried; if I had, you the blog-readers would probably have written this off as a rabbit food blog and gone elsewhere! I posted our best-of-the-best, but then in an effort to space out my salad ramblings I waited on some others, and now suddenly its weeks later and I’ve all but moved on, except that I can’t get this one out of my mind! It arose from a desire to do something new with the beloved pea shoots, and made use of some beautiful local shiitakes we had picked up, and while I’m not sure the salad was meaty enough to make a meal all-in-itself, I will definitely be making this again as a fresh, jazzed-up accompaniment to a light meal.
My favorite part about this salad is the contrast between the fresh and light (pea shoots, spinach, radish, carrot, green onion) and the more substantial shiitake and crumbled bacon flavors, all pulled together with a simple vinaigrette. To me it almost has sort of an asian flair, but without a sesame oil tasting dressing, but it also goes well with a completely non-asian-inspired meal. You can feel free to play it fast and loose with the salad greens, leave out the bacon if you wish, or add or subtract the veg add-ins at will (add julienned carrots, or substitute another kind of mushroom), and any way you shake it out I think you’ll find that this salad is a nice change from the usual throwing together of a salad from whatever crap is in the fridge. It feels much more composed but is really not much more effort.
Spinach and Pea Shoot Salad with Shiitakes and Bacon
Adapted from Gourmet (2001) via Epicurious
1 bunch pea shoots, washed, dried and cut if they are too large
4 handfuls baby spinach, washed and dried
1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms
2 slices bacon
3-4 radishes, matchsticked or sliced
2-4 scallions, sliced on the diagonal
2 T grapeseed oil (you can also use olive oil, but I prefer the milder flavor of grapeseed)
1.5 T lemon juice
.5 T red wine vinegar
.5 T coarse grain mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
First, cook your slices of bacon so they can cool; then crumble or chop. While it’s cooking, wash and dry your greens, and slice your radishes and scallions, and then remove the stems of the shiitakes and slice the caps into bite sized chunks.
In a small skillet (same as you use for the bacon if you want to minimize dishes!), saute shiitake caps in a small amount of olive oil with a sprinkling of salt over medium heat. When mushrooms are turning golden brown, remove from heat.
Get your dressing ready by whisking together grapeseed oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and mustard. Season with salt and pepper.
In your salad bowl, combine pea shoots and spinach with dressing and toss to combine. Add in your crumbled bacon, cooked shiitakes, radishes, green onions, and carrots. Serve as it appears, or toss it all up again if you don’t need to display the toppings!