Spinach Salad Again

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Spinach has become one of my new friends.  It keeps for so long in the fridge, unlike Romaine or butter lettuce.  I can buy a huge box and it will last for more than a week. And what I especially love about spinach is that it goes really well with hot dressings, especially those made from bacon.

This is one such recipe.  It comes from Looneyspoons, called the Unbeleafable Spinach Salad.  And let me just say, it is unbelievable how good this salad is.  I was a little skeptical when I saw how it’s made, but it’s amazingly delicious.  It’s sweet (from the mandarin and maple syrups) but also tangy (from the Dijon).  It wilts the spinach just enough to take away the really crunchy edge, but not so much that the spinach is a soft mess on the plate.  And there’s lots of bacon.

You can make it all at once if you’re serving a group of people.  If, however, you want to keep it all to yourself, just pour the hot dressing into separate containers (I made 4 servings for myself).  Store the containers in the fridge and just microwave for 30-40 seconds when you’re ready to eat it.  It will look very suspicious in the fridge, because the bacon fat separates from the rest of the dressing) but as soon as it’s heated and you stir it, everything looks normal again.

Unbelievable Spinach Salad (from Looneyspoons – they add white mushrooms)
serves 6

What you need:
1 can (10oz) mandarin orange segments in light syrup *undrained*
8 oz baby spinach leaves
6 slices bacon
1/2 cup diced red onions
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
freshly ground pepper
6 hard-boiled eggs, sliced lengthwise into quarters

What to do:
Drain orange segments, reserving the liquid (set aside to add to the dressing later).  Place the orange segments with the spinach in a large bowl.

Slice bacon into matchsticks and cook in a skillet until the bacon is crisp and renders its fat.  You can just leave the bacon whole and break it into pieces once cooked, if you prefer.  Leaving the fat in the pan, strain out the bacon and let it drain on paper towels.  Once cooled, sprinkle onto the spinach.

Add the onions, garlic and reserved orange syrup to the bacon drippings in the skillet.  Simmer on low heat for 3 minutes (to reduce the liquid a bit), stirring to break up any brown bits stuck to the pan.  Stir in vinegar, mustard and maple syrup and mix well.  Simmer for another 2 minutes.  Grind some pepper on top and remove from heat.  It should be about 1 cup of dressing.

Pour the hot dressing right away over the salad and mix well, using tongs.  The spinach will wilt a little.  Mound salad onto individual plates and arrange the sliced eggs on top.  Serve immediately.

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