Salad of Baby Spinach, Crispy Bacon and Cheese Croutons
- To prepare the cheese croutons: Preheat the oven to 400°F/205°C Using a serrated bread knife, remove the crusts from the sourdough bread then tear or cut the bread into 1-inch/2.5-cm pieces.
- Place the bread pieces on a baking sheet. Toast the bread in the oven for 8 minutes or until it is dry and crisp, stirring the bread pieces halfway through baking to ensure they cook evenly.
- Melt the butter in a heavy based large sauté pan over a medium heat. Add the croutons and toss to coat with the butter. Arrange the butter-coated croutons closely together but in a single layer on the same baking sheet.
- Sprinkle the cheese generously over the croutons and return to the oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the croutons are golden. Remove the croutons from the oven and set aside until cool.
- To prepare the vinaigrette dressing: Place the vinegar in a medium sized bowl. Slowly add the oil whilst constantly whisking to blend. Whisk in the parsley. Season the vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper.
- To prepare the crispy bacon and serve the salad:.
- Preheat a grill pan or griddle over moderate heat and grill the bacon about 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until nice and crisp. Transfer the bacon to paper towels.
- Meanwhile, toss the baby spinach leaves in a large bowl with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the salad among 4 serving plates. Place the bacon over the salads. Garnish the salads with the cherry tomatoes and croutons, and serve.