Thursday, December 3, 2009

Warm Bacon Spinach Salad

We adore bacon in our house! I keep a package in the fridge and a package in the freezer and use it in so many different recipes. Typical dinners at our house include a mixed salad of baby greens with my standard balsamic vinaigrette (search sidebar for recipe). I wanted to switch things up a little bit one night when I was making barbecue, and I thought that a warm bacon spinach salad would be perfect. It's also a great lunch or dinner salad and pairs really well with a crusty baguette. Not only is this salad really tasty, but it's a surefire way to get your family to eat raw spinach and, yikes, enjoy it! Even if you're not a big fan of raw mushrooms, give this one a try. The mushrooms soak up the dressing and are so tasty. This vinaigrette is simple to prepare, and the salad sweet and tangy with the smokiness of the bacon perfectly contrasting with the freshness of the vegetables. This is one of my new favorites!
Serves 3-4

4 strips of uncooked bacon
1/4 cup diced red pepper
1 package (5oz.) of washed baby spinach
2 tbsp. thinly sliced red onion
6 diced mushrooms

rendered fat from 4 strips of bacon
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar
black pepper
a little splash of olive oil (opt.)

Arrange spinach and vegetables on salad plates. Cook bacon and reserve the fat. Crumble the bacon over the spinach and vegetables. Once the bacon fat has cooled a bit, whisk in cider vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper (and olive oil, if you choose). Taste it and adjust by adding more cider vinegar (if you like it tangier) or sugar (if you like it sweeter). Pour the warm dressing over the salad and allow it to wilt the spinach for a minute or two before serving.

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