There is something significant about the aroma that occurs when you cook onions with bacon fat. I remember growing up, and mom would make this brussels sprouts dish that started with rendering bacon, then adding onion to the drippings, then the other vegetables, and adding a dash of vinegar at the end.
I never tried the brussels sprouts, but I loved that smell coming out of the kitchen and I can remember it to this day.
This salad is a classic, and I love making it as a starter because it’s not quite enough to be a hearty entree for two people. The spinach wilts under the warmth of the bacon vinaigrette, but holds up enough to add some crunch along with the salty bacon bits and boiled egg on top.
A perfect balance. Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.
Spinach Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
- 6 oz. baby spinach (one store-bought container’s worth)
- 3 T cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- Pinch salt
- 8 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into medium pieces
- 1/2 medium red onion, chopped medium
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar, sugar, pepper and salt until sugar dissolves. Set aside.
Fry bacon in medium skillet, until crisp, 10 min. Transfer to paper towels to drain, reserving bacon fat in another container. Return 3 T bacon fat in the skillet. Add onion and cook over medium, until slightly softened, 3 min. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, 15 seconds. Add vinegar mixture, then remove skillet from heat.
Place spinach in a large bowl and pour the vinaigrette mixture over it, tossing gently to get the spinach slightly wilted. Add the bacon and toss to combine.
To serve, plate spinach on serving plates, then top with egg quarters and extra cracked pepper, if necessary.
And dig in! Enjoy, friends xoxo