Warm Spinach Salad with Creamed Salt Cod Toasts

A warm or “wilted” spinach salad is the perfect way to learn the principles of wilted or warm, leafy greens salads: season and acidify the greens and herbs and any garnish (like vegetables or meats) first, then pour over the hot oil or fat. Rendered bacon fat is traditional, but rendered duck or poultry fat, or country ham fat, or mixtures of oils like nut oils and olive are also wonderful.

The choice of acid is between vinegar and citrus juices, and I particularly like sherry vinegar for spinach.

Remember when washing spinach (and all salad greens) to lift it out of the washing water into its second washing or drying spinner, not to pour it out, in which case the sand falls back onto the spinach.

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches spinach, stemmed, washed, dried, at room temperature
  • 1 cup creamed salt cod
  • 1 baguette loaf of bread
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh marjoram leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 8 nasturtium flowers, stemmed, torn into pieces
  • Sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut 8 slices from a baguette diagonally across the loaf, ½-inch thick. Brush 2 tablespoons of the olive oil on the bread slices then put them on a baking tray and into the oven for 5 minutes. Remove and cool.

Spread the creamed cod thickly on the toasts and put back in the oven for 5 minutes.

Put the spinach in a bowl; add the sherry vinegar, marjoram, ½ teaspoon of salt and lashings of black pepper. Toss together well.

Put the remaining olive oil and the walnut oil in a small saucepan and heat almost to the smoking point. Pour the hot oils over and around the salad. Mix the spinach well and very quickly. Serve immediately with 2 toasts on the side of each plate, and the nasturtium flowers on top.

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