Monday, 18 July 2011

Its better with the pig


Many recipes are improved by the addition of a pork product. That rash statement out of the way, the inimitable chouriço sausage can bring something extra to a salad.I decided recently to play with the composition of a classic bacon and spinach salad and give it an Iberian update, bringing to it some lovely warm southern Spanish flavours.It was all a bit 70´s when there was a fashion for raw spinach leaves in such establishments as Joe Allen´s. So out went the bacon, mushrooms and hard-boiled eggs and in came chouriço sausage, pequillo peppers avocado and orange. What have we got, chic modern Spanish salad......

Spinach and avocado salad
with a warm chouriço, pequillo and orange dressing

1 large ripe avocado cut into chunks
500g washed baby spinach leaves or pousse
250g  Chouriço corrente (semi cured cooking chouriço) skin discarded and then diced
4 tablespoons of good quality sherry vinegar
1 tin or jar of Pequillo peppers 185g ( approximately 6 peppers)cut into strips
zest and juice of 1 Navel Orange
handful of chopped pistachios for garnish

Remove the skin from the chouriço and dice the meat, fry in a small frying pan with a glug of olive oil until the fat runs out and the chouriço is nicely coloured and cooked.Set the pan aside and cool for a minute.Introduce the sherry vinegar and juice from the orange.Stir to mix well then add the strips of pequillo pepper.Season well.
In a salad bowl mix the spinach leaves with the orange zest.Chop the avocado into chunks and when ready to serve arrange the spinach, orange zest and avocado chunks on plates and pour over the warm chouriço orange and pepper dressing.


A simple Chouriço dressing
• olive oil
• 100g chouriço sausage, chopped into small pieces
• a sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely grated
• extra virgin olive oil
• 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• juice of 1 lemon

Heat a frying pan with a couple of glugs of olive oil. Fry the chouriço until the fat renders out, add the rosemary and garlic, toss and take off the heat after 30 seconds. Add the balsamic vinegar and half the lemon juice to the pan, mix and put to one side.

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