Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon

I've always had a special bond with POPEYE - we both love spinach. I don't care if it is spinach salad, creamed spinach, or spinach added to any or everything. The rest of my family is not quite as enthusiastic about this vegetable as I am though. My husband was raised on canned spinach with vinegar (it would have turned me against it at a young age as well) but I was lucky. I grew up with a mother and grandparents who were the proud owners of gardens where vegetables and fruit were plentiful almost all year round. So spinach was always fresh and tender and dishes with it were prepared with a lot of love.

I've made a lot of spinach dishes before and slowly my husband is coming around but this warm salad was a new one even for me. It is warm like a vegetable, but has the tang like a well dressed salad and of course bacon never hurts a dish. We served this with hard boiled eggs on top which you could either leave off or substitute with soft boiled eggs which will also compliment this dish well. This salad goes great as a side dish with steak but if you are going for a vegetarian option (without the bacon bits), it could make an entree sized portion for 2 people along with the eggs and some crusty bread.

Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon

1 pound Baby Spinach leaves, washed, dried and stems removed
4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 Shallot, thinly sliced (or another 1/2 onion)
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced 
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
3 large semi-hard boiled eggs

Add chopped bacon to a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown. Once the bacon is crisp and rendered, take it out and set it aside on a plate leaving the bacon fat in the pan. Add the shallots, onion (or all onion) along with the garlic to the pan. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until soft, being careful not to burn the garlic (it will turn bitter). Add the honey and vinegar along with the crushed red pepper flakes and caramelize the onions and garlic, about 4 more minutes. Toss the washed and dried spinach into the pan and wilt it down a bit making sure not to over cook the spinach, turning it with tongs for about 30 seconds to a minute. Season the greens with salt and fresh ground pepper. Place spinach on a serving dish and top with reserved bacon bits and arrange cooked eggs on top. Serve immediately.


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