Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon

Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon


Meaty, rich, and delicious, especially since the dressing cooks the spinach a bit.
TIME 30 to 40 minutes
MAKES 4 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ pound slab or thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large shallot or small red onion, chopped
8 cups torn spinach leaves
¼ cup any wine vinegar, or more to taste
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard, or more to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Method
1 Put the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat; when it’s hot, add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s crisp and lightly browned, 8 to 12 minutes. Add the shallot and cook until it begins to soften, 1 to 2 minutes more. Turn the heat to low to keep the mixture warm without further cooking.

2 Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with hot tap water and let it sit for 1 minute to warm the bowl. Pour out the water, dry the inside of the bowl, and put the greens in the bowl.

3 Add the vinegar and mustard to the skillet, turn the heat to medium high, and bring the mixture just to a boil, stirring. Taste the dressing and add salt (it won’t need much), lots of pepper, and a little more vinegar or mustard if you like. If the dressing looks too thick, add a few drops of water.

4 Pour the piping-hot dressing over the greens, toss to wilt the spinach a bit, and serve right away.

Variations
  • BLT Salad: Substitute torn lettuce for the spinach and skip warming the bowl in Step 2. Let the dressing cool before pouring it over the salad and add 2 cored, seeded, and chopped large ripe tomatoes at the last minute.
  • 5 Other Ideas

1 Use arugula, escarole, frisée, or sliced Napa cabbage instead of the spinach.
2 Top each serving with a poached or fried egg.
3 Cook sausage instead of bacon: Squeeze it out of the casing into the pan of hot oil or cut it into chunks.
4 Cook ham or prosciutto instead of bacon: Cut either into ½-inch pieces.
5 Add 2 cups cherry tomatoes to the dressing in Step 3 when you add the vinegar. Omit the mustard and reduce the vinegar to 3 tablespoons.
Tips
  • Choose the best bacon you can afford, preferably naturally smoked without a lot of chemicals. Slab just means that it’s not presliced and that is has a rind. If all you can find is sliced bacon, that’s okay too; choose the thickest cut available.

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