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 lb. 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
- Trim spinach of thick stems and wilted or yellowed leaves and wash thoroughly. Pat dry with paper towels or dry in a salad spinner.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.