Baby Spinach Salad with Smoked Salmon, Applewood Bacon, and Maytag Blue Cheese Dressing

Richard Hamilton

Spiced Pear at the Chanler - Newport, RI

Richard Hamilton served this salad as part of his French-Creole Thanksgiving dinner at the Beard House. He likes to call it a “Napoleon salad.” Classically, of course, the layers in a napoleon are made from puff pastry and pastry cream. For this dish, Hamilton alternates salmon and spinach leaves for a surprising and delicious savory appetizer.


Maytag Blue Cheese Dressing:
  • 1 cup crumbled Maytag blue cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated onion
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
  • 2 red onions, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons or so olive oil
  • 2 cups baby spinach, washed and dried
  • 4 ounces excellent quality Scottish smoked salmon, cut into 2-inch squares
  • 8 strips applewood bacon, fried until crisp and cubed
  • 3 tablespoons toasted walnuts, chopped


To make the maytag blue cheese dressing, whisk together all of the ingredients except for 1/4 cup of the crumbled blue cheese. Adjust the seasoning with salt or more pepper, if needed. Fold in the remaining cheese. Let the dressing rest for eight hours before using.

To make the garnish, slice the onions into scant 1/2-inch-thick slices. Brush slices lightly with olive oil. Grill for 5 to 7 minutes per side. Alternatively, leave the onions whole, brush with olive oil, and roast at 425º for about 45 minutes. Slice when cool. Set aside.

To make the salad, combine the spinach, bacon, and enough dressing to coat the leaves in a large bowl. Toss.

To serve, place one piece of salmon on each plate. Cover with a layer of salad. Repeat two more times, ending with the salmon. Sprinkle the salad with walnuts and arrange the grilled onion slices on top. Serve immediately.


4 servings