Earlier in the day yesterday, I stuffed myself silly with a tester batch of thin mints and leftover cheese straws, so I wasn’t hungry enough for a “proper” dinner. Happily, I had a bag of spinach nearing its sell-by date, fresh pack of bacon and a leftover nub of blue cheese milling about in the fridge — gotta love those anthropomorphic ingredients.
Thirty minutes of minimal effort later, a big bowlful of salad was ready to mow down on. Across between the wilted spinach salad from The Two of Us … and Friends and my beloved salad at Russian River, it ended up being substantial enough for a light dinner for two, but is probably ideal served as a side salad for four.
Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette and Blue Cheese
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4 as a side salad
- 6 ounces bacon
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams or about 1 small clove) minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) smooth Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons (10 grams) cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) lemon juice
- 4 ounces spinach
- 2 ounces Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese (or other gluten-free blue cheese), crumbled
- Coarsely ground black pepper
- Kosher or Maldon sea salt
Cook bacon until desired crispness — oven or stovetop, whichever method you like — and reserve one teaspoon grease. Once cool enough to handle, chop bacon into 1/2″ pieces; set aside.
In a small saucepan or skillet, heat reserved bacon grease, olive oil and garlic over low heat just until garlic turns light brown. Remove pan from heat and carefully — it will likely splatter — whisk in Dijon, vinegar and lemon juice until combined.
Place spinach in a large bowl, toss with warm vinaigrette. Add about 3/4 of the chopped bacon and 1/4 of the crumbled blue cheese to the dressed greens; toss just until evenly distributed. Sprinkle remaining bacon and cheese on top, sprinkle with a pinch each of coarsely ground black pepper and salt. Serve immediately.