Sunday, May 26, 2013

Spinach and Shiitake Salad with Parmesan

Even though Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer, Mother Nature didn't seem to get the message. From this point on, my goal is to grill as much as possible of what I eat, starting with brats for dinner tonight. In order to indulge myself with zero guilt, I eat meals like this flavorful and healthy salad for lunch. For a dish with no meat, this is one of the savoriest meals you can eat. The shiitake mushrooms and Parmesan both bring a healthy helping of umami to the dish, that deep savory quality perfectly contrasted by the sharp red onion and fresh spinach. (If raw red onion is a little to assertive for your taste, I recommend rinsing it before adding to the salad, which will tame the sharpness without rendering the onions flavorless.) Equally as appropriate as a vegetarian main as the companion to a juicy grilled steak, this short list of ingredients will fool everyone into thinking you're a gourmand with precious little effort.

Spinach and Shiitake Salad with Parmesan
serves 1 as a main or 2 as a side

2 ounces baby spinach, washed
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion (about 1 ounce), rinsed if desired
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons (about 1/2 ounce) shaved Parmesan
Salad dressing, for serving (I recommend balsamic vinaigrette)

1. Spread spinach on a place and top evenly with sliced red onion. Set aside.

2. Heat a pan over medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the sliced mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are golden and just tender, about 5 minutes. Add warm mushrooms to spinach and top with Parmesan. Drizzle with dressing of choice and serve promptly.

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