Okay, this is the finale of the recipes that I used for Mother’s Day dinner last week. It includes our vegetable course, which was a wilted spinach salad with a warm bacon vinaigrette and a simple tomato and mozzarella appetizer to start off the meal. Let’s start with the tomato appetizer, which is quick and simple and great for any time when you have a couple of fresh tomatoes around and are looking for something to do with them.
Tomato and Mozzarella Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
3 ripe tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Mix the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper together in a small bowl.Gradually add the olive oil while whisking until well blended.Spread the tomato slices on a large plate or platter and lightly salt the tomatoes. Cover the tomatoes with the mozzarella slices. Drizzle the dressing over the tomatoes and mozzarella. Sprinkle the chopped basil on top and serve.
It is super quick and easy to make anytime. You could even add some salad greens into the mix and make it as a salad course if you choose to go that way.
Now for the spinach salad. This really only works well with fresh spinach, but everyone loved the combination here, so I think this one is a keeper. I got the recipe from the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, so you can find it in there if you want to take a look.
Wilted Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
6 ounces baby spinach
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 red onion, chopped medium
1 small garlic clove, minced
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered (optional)
Place the spinach on a large bowl. Stir the vinegar, sugar, pepper and salt together in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour the fat into a heatproof bowl and the return 3 tablespoons of the fat to the skillet. Add the onion to the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes; stir in the garlic until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the vinegar mixture, then remove the skillet from the heat; working quickly, scrape the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon to loosen and remove any browned bits. Pour the hot dressing over the spinach, add the bacon and toss gently with tongs until the spinach is slightly wilted. Arrange the egg quarters, if using, over the top of the salad and serve.
Again, you could easily use this as a salad course or as a side dish. I chose not to use the eggs and used this as our vegetable side for the meal. One thing to keep in mind when you add the vinegar to your skillet – move your face away from it as you pour the vinegar into a hot pan. It releases a very potent vapor that can be unpleasant to get right in your face. It will surely clear out your sinuses if that is what you are looking for, otherwise, take some caution and move away. Bacon and spinach go really well together and with the spinach barely wilted you still get the nice texture of the spinach with the crisp bacon.
So that finally wraps up Mother’s Day. I have a number of other recipes to come here in the next few days and this week, including a very garlicky shrimp scampi, making spaghetti and meatballs for a crowd, some fried chicken and cornbread, the Ethiopian beef stir fry, a great new scallops recipe and more. Keep checking back to see what comes next I promise to be better about taking the pictures from now on :). Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!