SERVES 4 – 6
Three kinds of spinach are typically sold in the United States: crinkly savoy, which is the most common strain; flat leaf, generally preferred for salads; and semi-savoy, a cross between the two. Whichever variety you use for this salad, be sure to wash it very well—residual grit ruins a spinach salad—then dry it thoroughly. This recipe is based on one in First You Take a Leek (Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1981) by Maxine J. Saltonstall.
2 lbs. fresh spinach
6 slices bacon
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
4 large white mushrooms, sliced
2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and diced
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Trim spinach of thick stems and wilted or yellowed leaves and wash thoroughly. Pat dry with paper towels or dry in a salad spinner.
2. Fry bacon in a heavy skillet over medium heat until golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels to let drain.
3. To make the dressing, strain bacon fat through a sieve, wipe out skillet with paper towels, and return fat to skillet. Add brown sugar to fat, stir over low heat until dissolved, then add up to 1 tbsp. of the vinegar and stir well.
4. Put spinach, mushrooms, and eggs into a salad bowl. Crumble bacon on top, then pour warm dressing over the salad. (Dressing should not be quite hot enough to wilt spinach.) Toss a few times to coat spinach leaves evenly. Season to taste with pepper.