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.
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.