Spinach Salad

I’ve loved spinach my entire life. I was that weird kid that, when my mom or grandmother were serving some vegetable that I didn’t care for, got served a can of Popeye spinach. With ReaLemon juice. And loved it. Now, my taste in spinach has gotten a little more sophisticated over the years, and I probably wouldn’t touch canned spinach with a 10-foot pole unless there were no better alternatives, but spinach still falls into the category of one of my favorite vegetables. I love it just barely sauteed with a little garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. I love it in a spinach and artichoke dip (who doesn’t?). I love it as a creamy filling for crepes. And I adore it in this salad.

I’ve been making this salad in some form for most of the eleven years of my married life, but after years of hot bacon grease popping all over my hands when I added the mustard and vinegar to the hot pan (bacon can be dangerous business!) I think I’ve got this recipe down pat. I found this amazing spinach for $3.00 for a big bag from Fall Creek Farms at the Main Street Farmers Market, and I used about half of it for this salad. The other half is still waiting to see what it will become.

The first thing that you need to do is get the eggs boiling. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can do a great spinach salad without bacon and boiled eggs. They are absolutely necessary! Here’s how I do my eggs….perfect every time: cover the eggs with water in a pan. Bring to a boil, then kill the heat and cover. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, then cover with cold water until you are ready to use them. To peel, lightly tap them all over to break the shells then peel under cold running water. Now, if you have a way to peel that works for you, go for it! This is just what works for me.

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While the eggs are working, cook the bacon. I cooked three slices of Applegate Farms bacon on my microwave tray (my preferred method for cooking bacon!) for this recipe. Once the bacon is going, wash the spinach. This spinach was pretty clean, but sometimes spinach can be super sandy. I like to float the leaves in water in my salad spinner, then lift the basket out to avoid pouring grit over my greens, then rinse and repeat…then spin.

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Pour the drippings from the bacon (I got about a tablespoon) into the bottom of a bowl while they are still warm. Add a couple of teaspoons of brown or dijon mustard and about a tablespoon of red wine vinegar, then salt and pepper, and whisk to combine. Add the spinach and toss to coat completely.

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Slice the boiled eggs (or chop them if you prefer). Divide the dressed greens between two bowls and top with the sliced eggs and crumbled bacon.

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This salad was so good….I could have eaten both bowls of it. I really considered making more, and this might actually be the fate of those remaining spinach leaves in my fridge as well. My only regret was that I didn’t think to stop at the grocery store to pick up some cremini (baby portobello) mushrooms to slice up and add in with the spinach (you could also add some sliced red onion…but you all know my feelings about raw onion, right?).

My local food project is going well so far. We did deviate slightly from the meal plan today when I realized that I had forgotten to make chicken broth for the cream of broccoli soup, so instead we went to Good Dog (return review coming soon). I’ll make my broth in the Crock-Pot tomorrow and just move all my meals up a day…which actually works out better, since my class starts this week and I’ll need to get some classwork done when I get home from the Market on Wednesday. I am excited about seeing where this will go!

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