Thursday, August 5, 2010

Simple, Six Ingredient Salad

Oh how I love alliteration; it speaks to my inner English geek.

So, last night, I grilled six, count 'em six, Tilapia fillets for dinner. Those, along with three ears of corn, should've fed my family of three. Shoulda woulda coulda. WyoBaby was too busy playing outside with a dozen neighborhood kids to stop and eat, and J wasn't home from work yet. I helped myself to two fillets and an ear of corn. If my math is correct, and I like to think it is, that left four fillets. WyoBaby LOVES fish, so I figured she'd eat one fillet, (that's actually a lot of food for her, when you add an ear of corn), leaving three for J. Well, J came home and dished up his plate. I was doing something exciting, like laundry, so I paid little attention to his shenanigans. WyoBaby was still running around the yard like a screamin' street urchin. After a bit, I went in to tidy up the kitchen, and fix a plate for her, since it truly was time for her to eat. Imagine my surprise when both of the foil boats I'd used to grill the fish were empty! Insert heavy sigh here.

"J, did you eat ALL of the fish??"


"Slight problem. Our sweet baby girl hasn't eaten her dinner."


"Easy, Tiger. I know I didn't, which is why you're not getting The Eye right now. So just un-bunch your Fruit of the Looms, and pipe down."

"Fine." At this point, I may or may not have stuck out my tongue at him. All in fun, of course. I pride myself of my mature conflict-resolution strategies.

I stepped outside, and managed to yell over the din of a dozen hooligans, "WyoBaby! Come HERE, I need to talk to you!!!!"

"Um, okay..."

"You're not in trouble, I just need to talk to you." I do like the fact that I can still strike fear in her with the phrase, 'I need to talk to you'. It warms my heart.
"So, daddy ate all the fish."


"It's sorta my fault. I didn't tell him you hadn't eaten yet (and he didn't bother to ask before eating all the fish in sight), so he didn't know he needed to leave some for you. But, I do have some pork chops in the fridge I can cook for you."

"Fine. That'll work. Is there at least some CORN left??"

"Yes Baby, there is, so I'll give ya some corn and pork, mmmmkay?" I'm not sure she heard that last bit, as she'd run off to rejoin the others.

Short story long, I threw some chops in the oven to bake, as I'd already shut down the grill for the night. And, WyoBaby was fine. She ate one chop, and three bites of corn, and declared herself, "stuffed to the gills!!".

Fast forward to an hour ago. WyoMomma was hungry, so I went in search of sustenance. I had baked four chops, so there were three left this morning. Bask in the glory of my math skills, won't you? We also had some spinach, so I decided to make myself a salad, and it was sooooo yummy, I'm sharing it with you! It took about 10 minutes to throw together, and most of that time was spent letting the dressing simmer.

Six Ingredient Pork & Spinach Salad

1 can of blackberries (I used Oregon brand)
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 boneless pork loin chop, cooked ('cuz that's what I had on hand)
1/4 C walnut pieces (you could use pecans also)
3 handfuls fresh spinach
Manchego cheese

In small saucepan, combine 1/2 can of the blackberries & their juices with the vinegar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer while preparing the other ingredients. Stir occasionally.
In small skillet, toast walnuts over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
Thinly slice chop. Once walnuts are toasted, remove from pan, add pork to pan to heat.
Place spinach in a large plate or bowl, top with walnuts, pork and dressing. Using a vegetable peeler, garnish the salad with some thin slices of Manchego cheese. Toss to coat all with dressing, season with salt & pepper.

Seriously simple, and seriously yummy. The dressing is sweet and savory, the walnuts are buttery, and the Manchego adds a nutty, salty goodness to bring it all together. This served one, so you could certainly double, triple or even quadruple this recipe to serve others, if you're feeling generous. You might want to, because they'll love you for it, and you can tell them you slaved for simply ages! This is my new favorite summer salad. I hope you find it as blissful as I did, both in simplicity and taste. It would also work well with leftover chicken or steak, and of course, you can cook the meat specifically for this, if you don't have leftovers.

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