The first (and last) time I tried preparing a warm salad was the summer before my junior year in college. I was attempting to impress a soon-to-be boyfriend at dinner and thought a salad with warm bacon vinaigrette would be be manly enough. I remember the salad being very greasy and wilted. And, it turned out he didn’t eat salad – despite how much bacon was on it. The salad wasn’t a hit but neither was the boyfriend.
After ten years, I thought it might be nice to try a recipe out again – especially after seeing Ina Garten’s new recipe for Warm Mushroom Salad on TV. Ina’s vinaigrette is lighter – just olive oil (I skipped the butter)and sherry vinegar – and the warm caramelized mushrooms add a heartiness to make it perfect for Fall weather. I served this salad as a starter to a big skillet lasagna on Friday night for two friends. It was absolutely delicious and a nice change to the ordinary side salad. It could be served as a main course with a fall soup (pumpkin, lentils or sweet potatoes!) or as a starter.
My dinner guests laughed at the size of the salad for three people but we devoured it. It turns out that warm salads can be successful – and scrumptious! Now, where are those salad eating bachelors?
Check out Ina’s recipe on her website. I highly recommend it for your next Fall gathering!