Monday, June 30, 2014

Spinach Salad with Bacon Dressing

This is one of my most popular pins on Pinterest.  Spinach used to be a forbidden word in this house, but over the years I've learned how to make it more palatable to my veggie-hating family.  Personally, I love spinach in nearly any form and I could eat a spinach salad every day.  After 15 years of camouflaging spinach and hiding in various dishes, now my teenager daughter begs me to make my famous spinach rolls!  And even my picky husband, who has an aversion to anything green, loves this spinach salad, of all things!  It's a perfect summer dish:

Allow me to present my version of the Pioneer Woman's Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing! It's to die for.  If you think salads should only be healthy, you may want to avert your eyes.....

Hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
Bacon, cooked & crumbled - save those bacon drippings if you don't have a jar of magical bacon drippings in the fridge*
1 red onion, sliced thinly
Sliced fresh mushrooms
Swiss cheese, shredded
Baby spinach
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt & pepper to taste

Over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of bacon grease to a skillet.  Add onion and slowly caramelize, moving them around every couple minutes - slowly, people! It takes patience.  Otherwise they're going to be charred and not very yummy.  I've learned this the hard way.  After about 15-20 minutes, remove them to a plate.  Then do the same thing to the mushrooms, though they won't take as long, about 5-7 minutes. Remove them to a plate as well.

Now for the real magic...the dressing! In the same skillet, add 3 more tablespoons of bacon grease.  Add vinegar, sugar, honey, and Dijon mustard. Whisk the mixture until it's nice & warm.  Add salt & pepper to taste, but go light on the is bacon, after all.

Assemble the salad: Spinach, onions, mushrooms, eggs, bacon, Swiss cheese....and then pour that magical bacon-y dressing goodness all over the top.  Swoon and pretend you're being healthy.  You are eating spinach after all, right?

*Doesn't everyone keep a mason jar of bacon fat in the fridge? You should if you're not! Every time you make bacon, just let that fat cool a bit and pour it into your jar of awesomeness.  Use it in place of butter or oil whenever you want something jazzed up a bit.  It is FANTASTIC when you're making scrambled eggs. Or browning thin chicken breasts for a sandwich.  Or caramelizing onions.  The possibilities are endless. People will notice, but they won't know what it is....they just know it's gooooood.

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