Molasses & Mayhem

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weeknight dinners

spinach salad with grilled plums, grilled challah croutons, and honey-balsamic vinaigrette

salads, weeknight dinners, summer recipesLauren HaslettComment

i've told you before that i'm not really that into salads, especially for dinner. and i meant it.

but helloooo grilled plums. and goat cheese. and bacon, of course. i mean, if you're going to eat a salad, this is definitely the one.

(makes 2 main-dish salads or 4 starter salads)


for the salad:
6 cups spinach (packed), well rinsed and dried, tough stems removed
2 ripe plums, rinsed, halved, pits removed
2 cups cubed day-old challah bread
5 thick slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
¾ cup grated or crumbled goat cheese of your choice (see note)

for the dressing:
1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon grainy mustard
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons walnut oil
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons olive oil

note: i am lucky enough to have recently gotten a job in a fabulous, fancy cheese shop (more on that later, i promise), so i currently have access to some really, really good cheese. i splurged for this salad and got an insanely good goat-milk gouda—with a firmer texture than most soft, fresh goat cheeses you'll find in the supermarket, it was easy to shave over this salad with a vegetable peeler, and it's slightly sweeter flavor paired beautifully with these grilled plums. but of course, i don't expect everybody to go out and get this exact cheese for their salad—the point is that i am ridiculously lucky to spend so much time every week surrounded by such amazing food. but this cheese definitely has a price tag that makes it a once-in-awhile splurge kind of an item, and while totally worth it on occasion, i know not everyone wants to spend as much of their monthly budget on food (or on cheese) as i sometimes do. so, treat yourself this once—or don't. because if you get a nice fresh, creamy goat cheese, it's going to have a different texture, but it's going to be equally delicious, and i promise you will enjoy this salad just as much.

and now that we've covered the cheese issue, onto the really important stuff...finally putting this divine salad together!

how to do it:

  1. once you've washed and dried your greens and removed the stems, divvy them up equally on two (or four, if you're making starter sizes) plates.
  2. crumble your cooked bacon, shave your cheese (or crumble it or break into chunks, if you're using a log of goat cheese). divvy up the bacon and cheese crumbles equally amongst your plates as well.
  3. grill the plums and challah cubes: spray a grill pan with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium-high. place plums, cut side down, on the grill and cook until soft and charred, about 5 minutes. while the plums are cooking, also grill the cubes of challah to make some homemade croutons, turning the pieces of bread frequently during those 5 or so minutes, so that each side gets some char marks and the bread does not scorch. turn off the heat and remove the plums and bread cubes from the grill.
  4. once slightly cooled, divide the challah croutons between your plates. slice each plum half into 4-5 slices, then divide those equally amongst the plates, too.
  5. make the dressing: combine all ingredients in a mason jar or other container with a tight-fitting lid. cap tightly and shake vigorously until everything is well combined. drizzle the dressing over your plated salads and serve immediately.

i mean, honestly. is this not gorgeous? make it, eat it, and then repeat (because you're going to love it that much, i know it).

copyright molasses & mayhem; 2014.