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A beautiful spinach and bacon salad. Just picked baby spinach, a little bacon and onion...perfection!
10 minute spinach and bacon salad
When the first fresh bunches of baby spinach start popping up at the farmers market, I start to think about bacon, as I often do; and the beautiful thing that is a baby spinach and good bacon salad in a tart red wine vinaigrette.
A lot of spinach salad recipes will muck about with the additions of fresh mushrooms, orange slices, croutons and what have you. This is wrong! The perfect bacon salad needs only three ingredients, good thick cut bacon, perfectly fresh baby spinach--still dirty from the field--and shaved red onion, and that is it and that is final!
OK, I know I sound like a bit of a salad Nazi here, but such is the hold on me of a perfect bacon and spinach salad.
Bacon and spinach salad, as good as it gets
5 thick slices of good real smoked bacon
1 bunch of baby spinach. This salad is not really worth making if the spinach is not fresh, or if the spinach has been picked mature. You want the stems to be soft enough so that only minimal trimming will be required
About 1 Tbls of extra virgin olive oil
A generous Tbls of red wine vinegar, and more taste
A pinch of salt, and more if needed
A half red onion, shaved thinly
Wash the spinach well, to ensure that all grit is removed, and dry very thoroughly. A salad spinner is great here, and failing that, just put the spinach in a big dish towel (clean is probably better) and fold it over so you can swing it vigorously around the kitchen. Getting the leaves dry is a crucial step, and your salad will be watery and bland if you fail to dry well. It's helpful to have someone in the vicinity so you can aim the spinach water from your dish cloth flinging appropriately.
Fry the bacon until well cooked, but just before crispy.
Add the collected bacon fat to a small mixing bowl, and add your olive oil, pinch of salt and vinegar to it, and whisk up well. Pour over your spinach and onion while still slightly warm, and mix until all leaves are well coated. Taste and add more salt or vinegar as needed. This salad should be quite tart, to balance with the slightly bitter edge of the spinach and the richness of the bacon.
A very quick and easy way to enjoy just picked baby greens.
The perfect spinach salad.