Friday, June 22, 2012

Spinach Salad with Warm Chorizo Dressing

I go back and forth on whether or not I want to post my recipe failures.  Usually I decide to go ahead and post them, mainly because it's nice to have a record of what didn't work.  I also feel like things get a little redundant when you love every dish that you make.  Let's face it.  Real life just isn't that way.  We make mistakes.  We have failures.  Sometimes we cook food that we just don't like.  

Nearly every recipe on this site is something that my family and I really enjoyed, but then there are an occasional few that we did not.  It's bound to happen.  This spinach salad with warm chorizo dressing falls under the failure category.

Theoretically, this spinach salad looks like a win.  It's pretty.  It's colorful.  It looks inviting.  The problem was with the warm chorizo dressing.  It was just too vinegary.  In the end, I suppose it comes down to personal taste because this dressing might be wonderful to someone else.  I do enjoy vinegar, but there was just something off about the vinegar when it was mixed with the chorizo. You know how you smell something and you can tell that you're not gonna like it?  That's how I felt about this dressing.  I could smell an overwhelming aroma of vinegar.  In his book, Bayless says you can replace the vinegar with the juice from a jar of pickled jalapenos and I actually wish that I'd done that.  I think using that makes way more sense and would actually taste great.  If only.

In an odd way, I'm a fan of a recipe fail.  My kitchen failures have taught me way more than my successes.  I take away important lessons from each failure.  Lessons that I tend to remember.  In this instance, I'm not likely to go mixing meat with vinegar anytime soon (unless of course it's a vinegary bbq sauce).  

Spinach Salad with Warm Chorizo Dressing
Adapted from Mexican Everyday
by Rick Bayless

1 (9 ounce) bag of spinach
4 hard boiled eggs, halved and quartered
1  (10.5 ounce) container cherub or 1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 half red onion, diced or sliced thinly (however you like your onion)
One recipe Warm Chorizo Dressing, recipe follows **

Chorizo Dressing:
2 ounces (a packed 1/4 cup) fresh Mexican chorizo sausage, casing removed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced
2/3 cup vegetable oil, olive oil or a mixture of the two
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar**
1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano, preferably Mexican
*Note:  If you like spicy, replace part of the vinegar with the juice from a can of pickled jalapenos.

To make Chorizo Dressing:  Place the chorizo in a small skillet and set over medium heat.  Cook, stirring and breaking up clumps, until the sausage is browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and stir for a minute, then remove from heat.

Scrape the chorizo and garlic into a jar.  Add the oil, vinegar, oregano and 1/2 teaspoon salt if necessary.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  Shake well immediately before dressing a salad.

If you want to use this as a warm dressing (as is common for spinach salad), microwave uncovered for 15 to 20 seconds, secure the lid and shake again.

To Make the Salad:  Arrange spinach leaves on a plate.  Top with halved cherub or cherry tomatoes, quartered hard boiled egg, and sliced/diced red onion.  Pour desired amount of dressing on top and enjoy!

Theme: Summer Salads


  1. What a pity! The salad actually looks really good. I've added meat to my salads in the past using a vinaigrette based on oil and vinegar and it works. One thing that I have found, however, is that I don't like wine vinegar mixed with meat in my salads.

  2. I love your refreshing honesty, I find it hard to blog about failures, but you're right, that's life! You're also right about this looking good, and if a little vinegar is the only problem, it's still a winner in my book.

  3. Not everything works out for me either, glad you decided to share it.

  4. Completely agree - it's impossible to like everything and now if you ever want to make it again (which you may or may not!) you could try it without the vinegar. Actually just reading this I have to agree with you - I think the juice from the picked jalapenos might have been better. It does look like a lovely salad - but it's all about the trying new things. I made chicken with grapes one time and it looked awesome, but both hubby and I ate like grilled cheese instead LOL

  5. I love that you are a fan of kitchen failures and your reason for being a fan. You are so awesome in your approach to everything, Kim! When I read "warm chorizo dressing," I thought sign me up! It's disappointing that such a stunning-looking salad was a flop. Does sound good with pickled jalapeno juice though...

  6. Bummer =(. I've had this one marked for a while because I thought it sounded SO good. I'm sure I'll still try it, though as tastes are different. But I'll try it with the pickled jalapeno juice! Sure looks tasty.

  7. This does look good, even though the taste is not to your liking. It's great that you are giving your honest review, you are right, what does not work for us may be different for others. But no matter what, I'll finish all the eggs on the plate first!
    Wish you a wonderful week, Kim!

  8. It certainly looks pretty! Sorry it didn't deliver for you. I am a freak for vinegar, I might give it a go one day.

  9. Aww I love/hate it when recipes don't work also. At least it's a refreshing change from the "OMG I LOVED THIS MAKE IT NOW" that I always tend to find myself writing. :)

  10. Bummer that it wasn't as good as it looks. Can't love them all I guess. ;-)

  11. I'm feeling a kindred friendship with you on this post. You have now inspired me to go ahead and show the world the flops I have created. This salad actually looks pretty though.

  12. Too bad this salad didn't please your taste buds. It does sound good. I'm thinking I would just add the chorizo to the salad and make a garlic lime dressing. I'll let you know if it works.

  13. Loved that you've used chorizo in place of the bacon. I can't wait to give this a try.

  14. Yeah, I thought it looked excellent but I know what you mean.

    A different issue for me is that I really like spinach but sometimes I get that weird waxy feeling on my teeth when eating raw spinach. When that happens, it ruins my enjoyment of the salad.

  15. Have you ever made this with bacon? It uses hot bacon fat to make the dressing and it helps wilt the spinach a little bit. That one also has vinegar so I'm not sure if that would be better for you. Sometimes there are flavors that just don't jive no matter what. This does look good though! I'm sorry you didn't like it!


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