Bacon Lover’s Salad

Ask just about any meat lover and they’ll say it’s hard to go wrong with bacon. Combine it with some freshly picked spinach and two other seasonal bits of produce — strawberries and rhubarb — and you have the makings of a pretty delicious salad. And adding some cider vinegar and feta cheese really puts it over the top.

That’s what I thought after coming across the following recipe today, which also could be kicked up a couple of more notches by adding some hard-boiled eggs, Cheddar cheese and a little Dijon mustard.

Spinach Salad
10 cups young, tender spinach leaves, washed and dried
6 strips bacon
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 cup strawberries, stemmed and chopped
1 cup chopped rhubarb
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 ounces crumbled feta or goat cheese (optional)
Place spinach in a large bowl. Heat bacon in a skillet over medium-high until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to cool before crumbling.
Add shallot to skillet with bacon fat and cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add strawberries, rhubarb, water and sugar, and bring to a boil. Stir in vinegar, lower heat and simmer until fruit is soft and falling apart, about five minutes. Puree in a blender or food processor and season with salt and pepper.
Toss about ½ cup of the warm dressing with spinach. Divide among serving plates and sprinkle with bacon and cheese, if desired. Serve immediately with extra dressing on the side.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6.

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