Baby Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

by Gwen on July 13, 2010 · 0 comments

Hello friends, remember me?  It’s that old blog you’ve forgotten about. Today I thought I’d post some old-school deliciousness: spinach salad with warm bacon dressing. Here’s my spin on the 100-year-old classic.  Traditionally its a wilted salad, but that’s because the recipe was concocted when there was only one type of spinach readily available: the giant, gritty full grown leaves.  I prefer to keep some of the fresh crispness in the baby spinach to counter the rich, tangy dressing.  BTW, this makes a great, speedy weeknight dinner for two.

Baby Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing
Serves 2 for dinner, or 4 as a side-dish

4 slices of bacon, diced
1 shallot, fine mince (or an 1/8 cup finely minced red onion, if you must)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar — no substitutes this time.  this is the real deal.
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp dried mustard
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 package baby spinach (about 6 cups)
1 cup white mushrooms, sliced paper thin (about half a small package)
1/4 cup red onion, sliced paper thin
2 hard-boiled eggs, cut into wedges

Go ahead and put your eggs on to boil.  Seriously, I know you don’t have any sitting around in your fridge.  For the record, I like to start mine in cold water, bring to a rapid boil over high heat, cover and switch the heat off.  20 minutes later the eggs are perfectly cooked.  Then drop the whole pan under the faucet and run cool water in until the eggs are chilled enough to handle.

While the eggs are cooking, drop the bacon into a large skillet over medium heat.  The closer the bacon gets to done, the lower I drop the heat.  It takes 7-10 minutes for the bacon to get beautifully golden and crispy.  Remove with slotted spoon and let the bacon drain on a paper towel while you finish the dressing.

You should have about 3 tbsps of drippings left in the pan. Add some olive oil if you’re short to round it out. Gently saute the shallot over medium heat until its lovely and golden.  Now add the vinegar, sugar, mustards, a healthy grind of pepper and a pinch of salt and whisk to combine, scraping up all the little bacony bits that stuck to the pan.  Allow to simmer for 1-2 minutes so the dressing can thicken up and for some of the bite of the vinegar to cook off. If you really feel the need to wilt your baby spinach, or if you’re using the adult spinach leaves, toss the greens into the skillet for the last 30-60 seconds of cooking, being sure to flip/stir the spinach to ensure even wilting.

In a large bowl, combine the spinach, mushrooms and red onions and toss gently. Pour the warm dressing straight from the skillet into the bowl and quickly toss to coat evenly.  Now sprinkle over those yummy bacony bits.  You forgot about them, didn’t you?  No you didn’t, you’ve been snacking on them the whole time you’ve been cooking.  Wait, that was me.

Season the egg wedges with a bit of salt.  Serve the salad in a big bowl with the wedges of egg adorning the outsides.  Look at that, what a pro.

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