Spinach, mushroom, pancetta, parmesan salad

The Obstinate Daughter Restaurant on Sullivan’s Island in South Carolina has an amazing sautéed kale, mushroom appetizer that has been on their ever-changing menu for years.  I prefer the dish with lemon infused spinach instead with more herbs and scallions so I ended up with this hearty dinner appetizer.

Serves 6

Ingredients 

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound pancetta, finely chopped (optional for the veggie crowd)
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, slice 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves taken of the stem and chopped
  • 1 pound of fresh spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 lemons, juiced (discard the solids)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 4 extra-large eggs, separate the yolks and save the egg whites for another time (the trick is not to let them break when you put them on for baking but they one will always bust)
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • One chunk of parmesan cheese, sliced into shards with a vegetable peeler
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Making It

  • Turn the oven to 350 degrees
  • Take a saute pan with high sides and heat to medium high it with a tablespoon of olive oil, add the pancetta and cook for 3 minutes then add the mushrooms, pepper flakes and thyme and cook until the mushrooms are browned but not mushy.  This should take another 5 minutes, remove from pan and set aside
  • Put another splash of olive oil and put in half the spinach (you will have to do this in two batches.)  Saute the spinach for 1 minute and then add 1/2 the garlic and lemon juice and continue to cook for another minute or two (and repeat)
  • Mix the mushrooms, pancetta and spinach together, season by mixing in the grated parmesan, salt and pepper and put in a baking dish, sprinkle the scallions on, then the shards of parmesan (don’t be shy) and then carefully place the egg yolks on top
  • Place in oven for 5 minutes, just so the egg barely cooks, and when you serve the yoke can be hit with the serving spoon and turn into an almost bernaise sauce for the salad
  • If your want more texture you can sprinkle with toasted panko breadcrumbs

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