For starters, the cover had a delicious sweet roll recipe that can be baked in a cast iron skillet. It looked prefect for Christmas breakfast - brunch. We have a tradition of eating on sweet breads on Christmas morning. Since our daughter will be home for Christmas this year, I'm beginning to think about what to bake.
I ended up buying the book because it had so many great sounding recipes. (I also remind myself that it isn't the library, so they need us to purchase books and magazines to stay in business.)
The one I wanted to try first is sure to be a hit with bacon lovers (Y'all know who you are).
It combines roasted chunks of sweet potato (I actually used Garnet yams) and onion, crumbles of crisp bacon, fresh baby spinach, and a warm dressing using bacon drippings, red wine vinegar, orange juice and a little honey which wilts the spinach a bit. I made it tonight and it's a winner.
The vinegar, honey, and orange juice cuts the richness and fat of the bacon while the spinach adds it's distinctive flavor and the roasted yams and onions have a sweet note, too. I added some orange zest which brightened up the whole dish beautifully.
This would be a great salad for Thanksgiving. If you added some dried cranberries it would also work well for Christmas. We had it tonight with a pork loin roast, sliced tomatoes, & steamed broccoli.
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
1 1/2 lb. sweet potatoes (or yams)
1 large red onion or 1-2 large yellow onions
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil (or, even better, use grapeseed oil)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 (6 oz.) bag fresh baby spinach, thoroughly washed, then dried
Warm Bacon Dressing (recipe follows)
3-4 slices cooked and crumbled bacon (from the dressing recipe)
Peel the sweet potatoes / yams, and cut into 1 inch cubes. Cut onions into quarters, and cut each quarter in half.
Toss together sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, and oil (I put it into a plastic bag, seal, then shake well to coat the vegetables witht he oil and garlic). Place on a lightly greased aluminum foil-lined 15 x 10 inch pan. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper.
Bake at 400 degrees F. for 40-45 minutes or until tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
In a large bowl, combine the baby spinach, the roasted veggies and the warm dressing. Toss well to coat the spinach leaves with the dressing. Garnish with the crumbled bacon. Serve at once.
Warm Bacon Dressing
4 bacon slices
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons orange juice
the zest from one orange
2 tablespoons honey
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Cook bacon slices in a large skillet, over medium-high heat 8 - 10 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet. Crumble bacona nd set aside for garnish.
Stir red wine vinegar and remaining ingredients into hot drippings in skillet; cook over medium heat,stirring occasionally, 1-3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Immediately pour over the salad.