What’s for dinner: 11.18.12

In my growing up years, Sunday nights were special, casual family nights.  My mother would make a cheese souffle or spoonbread or some similar warm, hearty (but entirely simple) dinner.  While it was in the oven, my sister and I would have early baths and snuggle into our pajamas.  Then we would settle in to eat on TV trays (a Sunday night special treat) and watch Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, the Laurence Welk Show, or the Wonderful World of Disney.

Fast forward to 2012 and I find that Sunday nights still have a special feel to them, even though my family’s weekend rhythm is entirely different from that of my youth.

Today was a cloudless, temperate, beautiful day, begging for another trip to the park with the dogs followed by street play with the lacrosse ball discovered in the lake.  I took the long way to the market, windows down, enjoying the perfect weather as I headed to pick up a few items that would make for a no-prep dinner.  It was just too pretty to be inside cooking or doing chores.  When the sun finally started its descent, the kids came in tired and hungry.  While they showered, I whipped up a hearty salad – cold greens topped with roasted fingerling potatoes.  Another night of real food, which we all enjoyed.

Shopping list:

  • I package (3.5 ounces) Mache Rosettes (or other tender but slightly bitter green)
  • 2 lbs. fingerling potatoes
  • 1 package (12-16 ounces) bacon (I use uncured, center cut, hardwood smoked)
  • 1 fist-sized red onion
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Pungent cheese (bleu, feta or Gorgonzola)
  • 1 fresh baguette (0r other crusty bread)
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Salad dressing (I use Brianna’s True French Vinaigrette)

Heat oven to 400 degrees

Wash and quarter potatoes; toss in some olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt, and roast for 10 minutes at 400 degrees; reduce heat to 350  and continue roasting for about 15 minutes.

While potatoes are roasting, chop bacon into 1″ chunks. slice about half (or more, or less) of the red onion  into thin half-rounds.

In a large Dutch oven (I use a Le Creuset), cook bacon until crispy.  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon; place on paper towel to drain.  Pour off about half of the bacon grease and return the pot to the stove.  Saute the onion in bacon grease, adding a little butter or olive oil if you removed too much grease.  When onions are wilted and translucent, remove from heat and cover.

Divide greens among four plates or large salad bowls.  Drizzle with salad dressing.  Slice avocado and top each mound of greens with a few slices.

Remove potatoes from oven; turn oven off and place bread in oven to warm while you prepare the remainder of the salad.

Toss potatoes in pot with onions.  Add bacon crumbles and stir to combine.  Add crumbled cheese, if desired (no one in my family will touch “stinky” cheese, so I reserve this step for my own plate).

Top each mound of greens with the potato mixture.

Remove bread from oven and slice thickly.

Serve and enjoy.


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