Try A Tangy Spinach Salad This Summer

America's Test Kitchen — a real, 2,500-square-foot test kitchen just outside of Boston — is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Their mission? To develop the absolute best recipes by testing, then testing again (and again…) so you feel confident enough in the kitchen to cook everything from a simple, mid-week meal to an entire Sunday dinner party menu.
A bacon dressing tastes great in spinach salad recipes, but is there a fresher approach to this typically rich, heavy salad? We thought so. So instead of the traditional bacon and bacon fat, we built our spinach salad recipe with a base of fruity extra-virgin olive oil and also swapped out the sharp vinegar most spinach salad recipes call for in favor of fresh citrus juice. Soft crumbled cheese beefed up our salad without bogging it down, especially when we quickly froze the cheese to prevent it from melting in the heat of the dressing. Preparing the dressing in a Dutch oven and allowing the spinach to cook off the heat, covered with the dressing, for just 30 seconds produced a perfect, evenly wilted spinach salad.
Lemon, Feta, & Pistachio Spinach Salad
Serves 4 to 6
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon zest strip (3 inches) from 1 lemon
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice from 1 lemon
1 shallot, minced
2 tsp sugar
1 (10-ounce) bag curly-leaf spinach, stemmed and torn into bite-sized pieces
6 radishes, sliced thin
1/4 cup toasted and chopped pistachios (recommended)
Salt and pepper
Place cheese on plate and freeze until slightly firm, about 15 minutes.
Heat oil, zest, shallot, and sugar in Dutch oven over medium-low heat until shallot is softened, about five minutes. Remove pot from heat, discard zest, stir in lemon juice, and add spinach; cover, allowing spinach to steam until just beginning to wilt, about 30 seconds.
Transfer steamed spinach and hot dressing to large bowl. Add radishes, pistachios, and cheese and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.
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This post was originally published on April 24, 2014.

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