This has to be one of the classic salads, right up there with the Caesar salad, Cobb salad, and The Wedge. If you have been around for a while you will know that along with pudding, I'm also a big fan of salads. There has to be some balance. You know, balancing pudding with bacon! I know I just said that I hate the idea of eating salad in January, but January is almost over, and this one has a hot dressing. So, I'll let this one slide. It had been many years since I had one of these traditional spinach salads. It reminds me of a restaurant back where I grew up. A pretty fancy place back then, at least to my 13 year old memory. You took an elevator to the top floor and the whole restaurant had floor to ceiling windows that overlooked the ski hill and downtown in the winter time. It was always warm and cozy. They had the best cheesecake. This was back before EVERY restaurant served cheesecake. At least before every restaurant served the same cheesecake that came off the same truck.
You see, it takes nothing for me to take a perfectly good salad and quickly digress to cheesecake. I'm trying here, but it is hard for me. In any case, it brings back memories of getting dressed up and going out for a nice dinner. I still like to go there and have a glass of wine when I go back home, but the place has lost some of its mystery and excitement. Everything seems smaller, and maybe a little less shiny.
I can't help but wonder with eating out being so common now if kids still get that excitement that comes with going to a "fancy" restaurant. Well, I'm glad I was able to have that experience. I'm glad I was able to have this salad, and yes the cheesecake too! Do you have any childhood memories of eating out someplace fancy? Do you remember what you ate, or who you were with? Was there cheesecake? I'd love to hear about it.
Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
8 ounces baby spinach, at room temperature
6 large white mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 large eggs, hard-boiled, and thinly sliced
4 pieces thick-sliced bacon, finely diced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar, or honey
1/2 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Divide spinach between two large dinner sized salad bowls. Top with sliced mushrooms, red onion, and hard-boiled egg. In a medium skillet, fry bacon bits over medium-high heat until they are crisp and brown. Place a strainer over a measuring cup and pour in the bacon bits and grease. Transfer bacon bits to a paper towel lined plate to absorb remaining bacon grease. Add 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease from the measuring cup back into the skillet. Reheat over medium and quickly whisk in the red wine vinegar, brown sugar (or honey) and Dijon. Divide dressing between the salads and season salt and pepper. Toss gently and serve hot. Do not let the salad get cold before serving or the dressing will solidify.