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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing

This has to be one of the classic salads, right up there with the Caesar salad, Cobb salad, and The Wedge. If you have been around for a while you will know that along with pudding, I'm also a big fan of salads. There has to be some balance. You know, balancing pudding with bacon! I know I just said that I hate the idea of eating salad in January, but January is almost over, and this one has a hot dressing. So, I'll let this one slide. It had been many years since I had one of these traditional spinach salads. It reminds me of a restaurant back where I grew up. A pretty fancy place back then, at least to my 13 year old memory. You took an elevator to the top floor and the whole restaurant had floor to ceiling windows that overlooked the ski hill and downtown in the winter time. It was always warm and cozy. They had the best cheesecake. This was back before EVERY restaurant served cheesecake. At least before every restaurant served the same cheesecake that came off the same truck. 
You see, it takes nothing for me to take a perfectly good salad and quickly digress to cheesecake. I'm trying here, but it is hard for me. In any case, it brings back memories of getting dressed up and going out for a nice dinner. I still like to go there and have a glass of wine when I go back home, but the place has lost some of its mystery and excitement. Everything seems smaller, and maybe a little less shiny. 
I can't help but wonder with eating out being so common now if kids still get that excitement that comes with going to a "fancy" restaurant. Well, I'm glad I was able to have that experience. I'm glad I was able to have this salad, and yes the cheesecake too! Do you have any childhood memories of eating out someplace fancy? Do you remember what you ate, or who you were with? Was there cheesecake? I'd love to hear about it.

Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

8 ounces baby spinach, at room temperature
6 large white mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 large eggs, hard-boiled, and thinly sliced
4 pieces thick-sliced bacon, finely diced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar, or honey
1/2 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Divide spinach between two large dinner sized salad bowls. Top with sliced mushrooms, red onion, and hard-boiled egg. In a medium skillet, fry bacon bits over medium-high heat until they are crisp and brown. Place a strainer over a measuring cup and pour in the bacon bits and grease. Transfer bacon bits to a paper towel lined plate to absorb remaining bacon grease. Add 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease from the measuring cup back into the skillet. Reheat over medium and quickly whisk in the red wine vinegar, brown sugar (or honey) and Dijon. Divide dressing between the salads and season salt and pepper. Toss gently and serve hot. Do not let the salad get cold before serving or the dressing will solidify.


  1. My family lived near San Francisco when I was a child - I had three sisters. My birthday and my oldest sister's birthday were one day apart, and my parents always took the two birthday girls to a fancy restaurant for dinner. I remember getting dressed up in my long dress and heading to the most incredibly fancy restaurant I could imagine - The Velvet Turtle. I remember the heavy white tablecloths, the waiters wearing black and white, dark red velvet upholstery, and a chocolate sundae with a sparkler in it for dessert. I don't remember a thing about the food, though! lol It was a neat tradition, and I'm sorry that I haven't been able to repeat it with my children - not a single fancy restaurant anywhere near us. Seems a shame.

    1. That is a great story Denise, thank you so much for sharing. It's all about the dessert isn't it? It's kind of sad, I know a lot of kids when given the option to go to any restaurant they want will choose a chain restaurant, or even worse fast food. I'm afraid the kinds of memories we had just aren't happening anymore.

  2. You had me at "Hot Bacon!" LOL!

  3. You mention honey in the directions but not in the ingredient list. ?? Thanks!

    1. Thank you for catching that! You can use brown sugar or honey. I corrected the recipe.

  4. I don't usually comment on these...but I have to say....I made this for Valentines dinner last night with a Chateaubriand and potatoes. The salad was 'our' favorite out of the whole dinner and we're huge meat lovers. I did add some nice sized shrimp (U8) to it and instead of the red wine vinegar I used balsamic...only because my husband doesn't like red wine vinegar...and I did use honey instead of brown sugar. We'll be enjoying this for many more Valentines and other occasions to come. Thank you!


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