Thanksgiving 2008: Warm Spinach Salad with Fig-Balsamic Glaze

Warm Spinach Salad with Fig-Balsamic Glaze

This recipe is a great way to incorporate a salad or some greens into your Thanksgiving menu.  The warm greens are homey and appealing, and the fig-balsamic dressing is autumnal and perfect with traditional Thanksgiving flavors.  Fig preserves might be one of my favorite things in the world; they’re as sweet as candy, and they might be the best thing ever invented to spread on a biscuit.  The chunks of fig in the preserves add texture to the dish, and with a splash of balsamic the dressing isn’t cloyingly sweet.  The fried shallots add texture and add a nice sweet-and salty component to the dish.  

Warm Spinach Salad with Fig-Balsamic Glaze


  • 1 sack triple wash baby spinach
  • Canola oil for frying
  • 3 large shallots, sliced into paper-thin rings
  • 1/4 C fig preserves
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. light soy sauce
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Frying ShallotsHeat an inch of canola oil over medium high heat in a medium skillet.  Add a couple of slices of shallot; when the oil bubbles vigorously around them, it’s time to add the the remaining slices.  Fry gently, stirring occasionally, until the slices are golden brown.  Adjust the heat as necessary while frying so that the shallot does not burn.






Fried Shallots When the slices are a light golden color, remove to a paper towel to drain using a slotted spoon.  Season the shallots with salt and pepper, then discard all but three tablespoons of the oil.

Heat the remaining three tablespoons of oil over medium low heat.  Whisk the preserves into the oil, allowing them to melt a bit.  Next whisk in the soy sauce and the balsamic vinegar – but be careful, because this will splatter!  When combined, reduce the heat to low and cool a bit, then add half the spinach. When it wilts down slightly, add the other half of the spinach.  Turn the spinach with tongs to coat in the dressing.  Season with salt and pepper.


img_0762When just wilted, divide the spinach into serving bowls and spoon in additional dressing.  Garnish salads with the fried shallots.

Serves 2-4.

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18 thoughts on “Thanksgiving 2008: Warm Spinach Salad with Fig-Balsamic Glaze

  1. Oh man, those tiny fried shallot rings are calling to me…. And I’m very intrigued by the fig preserves as a dressing base, must try that out! Looks delicious! 🙂

  2. @ Jenny: I have to admit, I have a small addiction to figs. The preserves get me through the 10 months of the year I can’t get good fresh ones. Time to find more uses for them than just biscuits. 🙂

    @ Sara: About those shallot rings….let’s just say I made a double batch and only half made it to the salad.

    The preserves make an awesome dressing base if you heat them – love the chunks of fig. Mmm….figs….

  3. Only had to see the first picture and I was SOLD. Those shallots looks delectable!
    I can’t wait to have my own thanksgiving dinners when I can try making stuff like this! (I think my family would say “blech” to new dishes lol… it’s taken us two years to convince grandma to brine her turkey for her 🙂 lol

  4. @ Corinne – I heart shallots. I really, really do. They’re a pantry staple. My family isn’t terribly adventurous, and they love sticking to my grandma’s traditions. So, this year I hosted a Thanksgiving dinner the Saturday before the holiday for friends. I got to try stuff out and spend time with them. Everyone wins!

    @ Jo – It’s so tasty and incredibly simple. Totally worth trying out. And the shallots taste just sinful enough to trick people into thinking their being indulgent. 🙂

  5. Another perfect salad to add to my collection — the flavors all sound amazing! I’ve never tried fig preserves but have seen them in cute little jars, so now I have a reason to buy one.

    • @ kellypea – Thank you! Fig preserves are magical. They are absolutely worth trying (and cute jars are a plus). For your first taste, slather them over some sort of hot baked good like a biscuit or a croissant or sturdy homemade bread. I could go for some right now.

  6. oh man! I’ve been thinking about figs all day! I love the idea of fried shallot rings, too. Hmm…I do have an open jar of fig preserves in my fridges, and a bag of spinach…I’m excited to try this!

  7. As a follow up… any suggestions for using dried figs? I bought some the other day, but haven’t used them yet. I was thinking maybe chopping them up in a phyllo cup finger food with melted brie and sliced almonds? Let me know if you have any ideas!

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