Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Warm Mushroom Salad with Baby Spinach, Shaved Parmesan and Walnuts



Do you ever get a craving for mushrooms? I sure do. I love mushrooms for their earthy taste, texture and versatility. From the garden variety white button to the sophisticated porcini, they all have a place in my kitchen and heart. I adore creamy mushroom bisque to a porcini lasagna with béchamel sauce.

We had my parents over for dinner on Saturday night and wanted to make somewhat healthy food. They both love mushrooms. Growing up, Saturday nights would often be a steak and baked potato night. To accompany the steak, my Mom would sauté mushrooms. I put my spin on those childhood dinners by creating an earthy, decadent salad that I knew everyone would enjoy.

Warm Mushroom Salad with Baby Spinach, Shaved Parmesan and Walnuts

Salad:
6 oz. Portabella mushrooms
4 oz. Shitake mushrooms
8 oz. White button mushrooms
6 oz. Baby spinach
½ C. Walnuts
¼ lb. Parmesan hunk
2 t. Fresh thyme, chopped
2 T. Butter
3 T. Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Clean the mushrooms with a brush or paper towel. Cut into small cubes or slices. In a large pan, melt the butter and olive oil together. Add the mushrooms and cook on medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Add the thyme, ½ to ¾ teaspoon of salt and several grinds of pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Dressing:
2 T. Sherry vinegar
6 T. Olive oil
1 Large shallot, finely minced
Salt and pepper

To make the dressing, add all of the ingredients to a container with a lid and shake to combine. Let the dressing sit for 30 minutes for at least 10 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.

To assemble the salad:

In a large bowl add the cleaned baby spinach leaves and toss with the dressing. Divide among four bowls and top with the warm mushrooms and garnish with walnuts. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the parmesan cheese onto each salad. Finish with fresh ground pepper.

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