Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year’s Day Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing – Good Luck with That!

This spinach salad with black-eyed peas is a twist on one of my favorite American culinary traditions; the custom of serving beans and greens on New Year's Day. Supposedly eating "poor" on New Year’s Day brings much wealth and good luck throughout the year.

The greens, usually braised with ham or sausage, represents paper money, and the beans, usually black-eyed peas, symbolize coins. Here, we’re presenting those ingredients in salad form, which is a great delivery system for our hot bacon dressing– the true star in this video.

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is, “Eat more bacon,” then here’s another delicious way to work it into your diet. This peppery, sweet and tangy sauce is fast to make, and shines on other things besides wealth-generating spinach salads.

Wouldn’t this be great in a warm potato and mushroom salad, as well as a sauce for a grilled chicken breast or pork chop? What about spooned over poached eggs, or slathered on sweet potato fries? Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

If making and eating this salad on January 1st doesn’t really bring you prosperity in 2012, it will certainly bring you some tasty memories, and other pleasures money can’t buy. Happy New Year, and enjoy!

Hot Bacon Dressing Ingredients: (makes about 1 1/3 cup – or 6 servings)
1/2 pound bacon, sliced and cooked in 1/4 cup vegetable oil (reserve bacon pieces and bacon fat drippings)
1/2 cup minced onions
2 cloves minced garlic
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/3 cup of the bacon fat drippings
1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tsp cold water
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne to taste
For 6 Spinach Salads:
1 pound baby spinach, washed and dried
12 white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
1 (15-oz) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained


Anonymous said...

Yeah! Thank you, Chef John, for this great recipe. I've been looking for it since 1979 when I was introduced to a very similar salad offered at a restaurant where I worked in Southern California called Esops. The chef kept the dressing ingredients a secret so I have you to thank for letting the secret out.

Thanks again, and Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Hole-y Wooden Spoon, Bat Chef! And bonus points for using it in an application where it wasn't necessary.

Anonymous said...

what a GREAT blog. i told my grandchildren about it because the videos you make are tremendous!!! thank you so much!

Melissa said...

Hello Chef John!

Found your blog 3 days ago and have become addicted to watching your videos... they are so easy to follow and have found I'm already using some of your tricks. Thank you very much for sharing with us. I do have a question... Do you have a recommendation for a substitute for mushrooms, not one person in my family will eat them? Thanks again for sharing your talent!!

Chef John said...

There is none ;) just leave them out, or add them and make them take it or leave. Most people actually like them after being forced to eat a few times.

Rachel said...

This year I am definitely going 'greens and beans' for New Year even though it isn't an Australian tradition. I could certainly do with some help on the health and wealth front in 2012! Thank you Chef John for all your wonderful recipes. Happy New Year.

Vincent Nattress said...

Chef John,

I just discovered your site. You have done some really great work here. I love the videography and your voice over has such a great, friendly, approachable tone.

I see you taught at CCA. Do you perhaps know Richard Jensen?

Best wishes for the new year. Cheers,

Vincent Nattress

Jane said...

Happy New Year, Chef John.

Using your recipes in my cooking this past year, have added pleasure and joy to our family dinner table.

Thanks so much.

Have a wonderful 2012!

Chef John said...

Thanks all!

Vincent, I'm terrible with names, but it sounds familiar. Was he a teacher?

Jo Ann said...

Chef John,

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! (caps intended, of course)

You have once again fulfilled one of those foodwishes that I didn't remember I had. I, too, remember this dressing from a restaurant in the early 80s. ("Houston's" in Austin, TX.) When I saw this post, I knew it would be "it" (or close enough to satisfy a 30-year-old food memory). It was easy to prepare, tasted fantastic and got rave reviews from my family.

Thanks again for making cooking so accessible -- your videos, explanations and humor are great.

Happy New Year!

Claire C said...

I'm making this for my new year party tonight!!!! Thanks chef John, happy new year!

Anonymous said...

Made this for New Year's eve dinner! Along with your Cioppino. Fantastic dinner! Thank you for helping me make my night special

Gloria - The Internet GADabout said...

Just had to tell you how thrilled I was to find your Hot Bacon Dressing recipe! 30 years ago I had my first spinach salad ever on Cape Cod at the Daniel Webster Inn. It was fabulous but I've never been able to find a recipe that equaled it. Yours is the closest I've ever come. Served a spinach salad Saturday with Prime Rib and seafood twice-baked potatoes for DH's 63rd birthday. Everything was great but the spinach salad with THAT dressing was the biggest, most talked about hit! Thank you!

Suzy said...

I love this recipe! How does it hold up after being refrigerated and reheated?

Sally said...

I used to make a wilted lettuce salad at the nursing home just like this and I'd forgotten all about it. Thanks so much for reminding me how good this really is. I'll have to dig out my old recipe card and see how close my recipe is to yours. ;)

And, Suzy - don't refrigerate this! You end up with congealed bacon fat. Yuck! (I suppose you could heat it up again; but just, don't.)