If you are of the opinion that bacon makes everything tastier, then this is the salad for you! I first tasted this salad in a restaurant and I was determined to make it at home as soon as possible. The fact that the dressing is warm, and is laden with yummy bacon, takes this simple salad to a whole new level.
The only thing that needs to be made at the time of serving is the dressing, because you want it coming right off the stove and onto the greens. If you do it ahead of time, the greens will be too wilted and you will lose the whole wow factor of the hot dressing. The rest of the salad can be assembled ahead of time, so putting the dressing together at the last minute is no big deal.
Put together whatever you like to put in your spinach salad. Wash and drain fresh spinach leaves (about 8 ounces for this amount of dressing) and put in a bowl with your choice of add-ins. I added four sliced boiled eggs, some crumbled bacon (more on that in the dressing directions) and thinly sliced red onion. I would ordinarily include sliced white mushrooms but I didn’t have any on hand. I did, however, have one leftover waffle so I drizzled a little olive oil over it, cut it up and baked it in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes to make croutons for the salad. They were a hit!
But this salad is all about the dressing. Here is the recipe I use from Alton Brown.
Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing
8 pieces thick-sliced bacon, chopped
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fry 8 slices of thick-cut bacon and remove to a paper towel to drain, reserving 3 tablespoons of the rendered fat. Crumble the bacon and set aside.
Transfer the fat to a small saucepan set over low heat and whisk in the red wine vinegar, sugar and Dijon mustard. Season with a small pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper.
Add the dressing and bacon to the salad and toss to combine. Season with pepper, as desired. Serve immediately.