- 1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 6 slices good quality smoky bacon, halved across (recommended: Oscars from Warrensburg)
- 12 chicken tenders
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
- 1 bunch radishes, trimmed
- 1 large red pepper, seeded and sliced 1/2-inch thick sticks
- 1 bundle white or thin green asparagus, trimmed
- 1 sack purple pearl onions or 1 jar pickled pearl onions, drained
- 1 jar mini gherkins, drained
- 1 bag pretzel rods
- Whole-grain or seeded bread, diced for dipping
- Fondue with Apple Brandy, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Defrost spinach in microwave.
Drizzle a little oil on large plate and have a rack sitting on baking a sheet or slotted broiler pan nearby. Halve the bacon across and reserve on a meat-safe prep board. Halve the chicken tenders and slide into the dish with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and paprika. Wring out the spinach in a clean dish towel and put the spinach in a small dish. Top each piece of chicken with a little spinach and wrap with bacon. Arrange, seem side down, on the baking pan. Bake until golden and firm, 18 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a few inches of salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Have a large bowl of ice water, for shocking the vegetables, ready as well. Add the radishes to the boiling water and blanch for 1 minute, then remove them and shock in ice water. Repeat with the pepper removing them with tongs or small strainer or spider. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 to 3 minutes, then shock and reserve.
If using fresh onions, add last and cook for 3 minutes to loosen skins. Shock them and use a towel to wipe away the skins.
Fondue with Apple Brandy:
- 1 3/4 cups dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3/4 pound Gruyere, shredded
- 3/4 pound Emmentaler, shredded
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/3 cup apple brandy
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
- Pinch cayenne pepper
Put the wine in a fondue pot and bring to a bubble over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the lemon juice, then add the cheeses in handfuls, stirring in a figure-8 motion with wooden spoon. When the cheese is fully melted, stir the cornstarch into the brandy, in a small bowl until smooth, then add to cheese. Season with nutmeg and cayenne and serve over a warming station for your fondue pot.
Yield: 6 servings