Photo by Rachael Brugger
Make this salad using your own harvest of spinach, Swiss chard or your other favorite greens.
Winter has arrived, at least to our Inn Serendipity farmstead. The air is crisp. Trees stand bare. The woodstove glows. In anticipation of our first really hard freeze, we harvested the last five heads of cabbage, a row of carrots, leeks, Swiss chard and perpetual spinach—before the temperature plunged into the teens.
With our last fresh harvest of spinach we often savor a hearty spinach salad with hot bacon dressing using the young, tender leaves of our perpetual spinach, also called leaf beet. This salad could be made with regular spinach, as well, if you happen to have a fall succession crop ready for cutting, just in time for a delicious and decadent (thanks to the eggs and bacon) Thanksgiving salad.
Perpetual spinach, a member of the Swiss chard/beet family is what we grow these days, adapting to climate change that often over-heats our early spring crops and extends our fall season well into November. Spinach tends to bolt quickly in high temperatures, causing its leaves to turn bitter, thus shortening the harvest season. So with cut-and-come-again perpetual spinach, we can grow and eat our dark leafy greens from April through November in our Wisconsin climate. Perpetual spinach rarely bolts when the heat index soars above 90 degrees F as long as we water the crop enough.
This salad packs a protein punch from the combo of bacon, egg and spinach. For our spinach salad below, however, the dressing draws part of its tasty appeal from the leftover bacon fat that’s used in its preparation. For additional flavors or textures, you could also add some chopped sautéed mushrooms or caramelized red onions to the salad.
Whether it’s the holidays or the last spinach harvest, why not celebrate?
Recipe: Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing Recipe
Yield: 4 serving
- 3 eggs
- 8 slices bacon
- 1 T. red wine vinegar
- 2 T. honey
- 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
- 1/4 tsp. pepper or to taste
- 1/2 pound spinach
Hard-boil eggs (approximately 15 minutes), then set aside to cool. When cool, remove shells and chop eggs into small, crumbly pieces.
In fry pan over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp but not burnt. Set bacon aside on paper towels to drain. Leave bacon fat in fry pan to cool slightly on separate burner. Add red wine vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper to bacon fat, and whisk into smooth, warm dressing.
Wash fresh spinach, and tear into bit-size strips, then arrange in individual salad bowls. Pour warm salad dressing over top of fresh spinach. Top salad first with chopped hard-boiled eggs, then crumbled bacon bits. Serve warm.
John and Lisa
Savoring the good life,