September 18, 2007

Bad, Bad Spinach; Great, Great Salad

Seriously, this is just freakin’ ridiculous. Another bagged spinach recall because of E. coli contamination. Once our CSA season is over, I truly don’t know if I’ll be able to trust any of these bagged salads from the grocery store. I wouldn't be surprised if this contamination, as was the case last time, was due to cow poop flowing down into the spinach fields from an adjacent cattle ranch. But the most infuriating part:

A recent Associated Press investigation found that government regulators never acted on calls for stepped-up inspections of leafy greens after [the previous] outbreak, and regulations governing farms in the fertile central California region known as the nation's "Salad Bowl" remain much as they were.

Ah, your corporate-friendly government regulators at work, dutifully ignoring the public health!

On to more positive salad-related news… I usually don’t pass on a recipe I’ve only made once. But this one, adapted from the August ’07 Bon Appetit, was excellent and easy. Assuming you can get your hands on a variety of non-cow poop laden greens and are willing to dish out the funds for a head of radicchio, this is highly recommended:

Grilled Radicchio Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette


  • 1-2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped tarragon
  • 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 3 tablespoons of high-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  • 4-6 green onions, tops and bottoms trimmed
  • 1 small head of romaine, quartered, with a bit of core on each piece
  • 1 head of green or red-leaf lettuce, quartered, with a bit of core on each piece
  • 1 head of radicchio, quartered, with a bit of core on each piece
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Prepare the grill, medium-high heat.

Make the vinaigrette: Combine the vinegar, tarragon, mustard, honey, salt and pepper; whisk together, and then slowly whisk in the olive oil.

Prepare the greens: Put the salad components on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper. First put the radicchio on the grill. You want the radicchio to be on the grill for a good 10-12 minutes total, about 5-6 minutes on each side. It should be charred and the internal leaves should be a little cooked.

After the radicchio has been on for a few minutes, put on the green onions. When the radicchio is looking good (I mean that – use those tongs and inspect, baby, inspect!) and the green onions are starting to get a little charred, put the other greens on the grill. These should be on for about 30-45 seconds per “side,” if a quartered piece of leafy lettuce can really have a side.

Remove all of the greens from the grill, chop into thin slices on a cutting board, put in a large bowl and toss with the vinaigrette.

No comments: