Friday, 6 February 2009

The Ultimate Spinach Salad with Bacon, Black Pepper and Honey

I think I changed my mind about a dozen times as to what I would make for Tyler Florence Fridays this week. I finally decided on this warm spinach salad to pair with a nice beef stew that I will post on Sunday.
I really liked the honey and apple cider vinegar dressing, it gave this traditional salad an interesting flair - I didn't measure, just added to taste.
The resulting meal was like fine pub fare - hearty, comforting and delicious. This salad can easily be a meal in itself - bacon, eggs, spinach.. what's not to love?

The Ultimate Spinach Salad with Bacon, Black Pepper, and Honey Tyler's Ultimate
Serves 4

2 large eggs
2 bacon slices, cut crosswise into thin strips
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 bag (1 pound) baby spinach
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, turn the heat off and let the eggs sit for 12 minutes. Lift the eggs out of the pan and cool; peel the eggs.
Meanwhile, put the bacon strips into a big skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes over medium heat to render the fat. Scoop the bacon out and set aside onto a plate, leaving the fat in the pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5-6 minutes, until soft. Add the honey and vinegar and keep cooking until the onion has caramelized, about 5 more minutes. Toss the spinach into the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss with tongs until the spinach is just wilted, about 30 seconds. Dump the spinach out into a bowl and add the bacon. Halve the eggs and arrange on top of the salad.

I added some croutons as I had a couple of crusts of homemade bread that I wanted to use up.
It is good to have a little extra baby spinach around in case you wilt yours down too much - you can just add in a little more for body.
I used to struggle and get frustrated peeling eggs. Now I chill them in cold water after cooking and then put them in the fridge. By the time I need them hours later, they peel easily. Of course, this only works for cold eggs. You won't get a perfectly peeled hot boiled egg in my house. Scrambled?

“To remember a successful salad is generally to remember a successful dinner; at all events, the perfect dinner necessarily includes the perfect salad.” George Ellwanger (1848-1906)
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