This Warm Spinach Basil Salad brings together the classic flavours of pesto in a salad. Perfect for almost any summer menu the salad must be tossed after your guests are seated. Heating the dressing brings out all the individual flavours but it must be enjoyed as soon as it is tossed.
This unique salad comes to mind when the basil is ready to harvest. Whether your basil came from the grocery store, the Farmer’s Market or your own garden this salad is worth the effort. It is also the perfect recipe to splurge on some fine ingredients.
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When it comes to food quality matters. I don’t use the most expensive ingredients in my salad every day but some occasions call for the good stuff. For home cooks it is part of the experience to try some of the finest ingredients available at home. For this salad if your budget allows I recommend an extra virgin olive oil and some real Parmesan cheese such as, Parmaggino Regianno or Grana Padano. Pine nuts and prosciutto are a must for the full Italian experience. These ingredients are all expensive making this salad a treat worth planning for. A weekend dinner in your backyard enjoying some fine Italian wine sounds perfect to me.
A Menu Showcasing Fresh Basil
What about having an entire meal showcasing the flavour of basil? I imagine starting off with an appetizer version of Bocconcini Cherry Tomato Skewers. As a second course serve this Warm Spinach Basil Salad then follow it with a main course of Chicken with Tapenade and Tomato Basil Sauce. This menu takes me back to outdoor meals anywhere in the mediterranean.
Some aficionados would include fresh basil in the dessert. A popular version is fresh strawberries drizzled with a premium balsamic vinegar and topped with finely shredded basil. If you served it to me I would definitely try it but I’m not sure about basil is dessert. To end my casual summer menu I would prefer something like fresh berries topped with a luscious lemon curd.
Let me know in the comments below if you tried this Warm Spinach Basil Salad and what you thought of it.
|6 cups baby spinach leaves|
|2 cups fresh basil leaves, cut in half if large|
|½ cup extra virgin olive oil|
|3 cloves of garlic, minced|
|½ cup pine nuts|
|4 oz prosciutto, cut in strips|
|salt and pepper|
|lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese|
- Toss spinach and basil together in a large bowl.
- Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and pine nuts and sauté 1-2 minutes until the nuts begin to brown.
- Add the prsciutto and cook, stirring, for another minute.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour warm dressing over spinach/basil mixture and toss.
- Serve and sprinkle a generous amount of Parmesan cheese on each salad.