On a rare trip out to dinner the other night I made the grueling decision to order the Spinach Arugula Salad. The adjectives on the menu used to describe the salad..."fresh, delicate, earthy"... initially lured me in while the... "Warm Bacon-Shallot Vinaigrette"... completely sealed the deal!
So you can imagine my disappointment when ten minutes later there I sat...in front of a huge bowl of monster spinach leaves with rubbery canned mushrooms, flavorless onions and a barely visible dressing! After much maneuvering of ingredients in search of anything exciting (...a hard boiled egg, parmesan cheese, a toasted pecan perhaps???) all I came across were traces of ...(gulp)...store bought bacon bits!
Dejected...I ended up eating the kid's food while in my head constructing, "the perfect spinach salad." A few days later I made this...
Warm Spinach and Arugula Salad, adapted from a Rachael Ray recipe
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 slices thick-cut bacon
3 shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 pinch of sugar
2 pounds triple washed spinach, stems removed (I used a combination of baby spinach and arugula)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
4 hard-boiled eggs, quartered lengthwise (I crumbled my hard boiled eggs)
Parmigiano-Reggiano, for topping
I added a handful of fresh pecans and fresh crumbled mushrooms
Cook bacon over a medium-high skillet and brown until crispy. Remove bacon from the pan and pour off most of the bacon grease. Add olive oil, shallots and garlic to the same pan. Cook 3 to 4 minutes then deglaze the pan with vinegar and pinch of sugar. Turn spinach into pan and wilt down a bit but do not fully cook the spinach, just give it a few turns with tongs. Season the greens with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Place spinach on a serving dish and top with eggs, shavings of cheese and reserved bacon, toss and plate. I threw in some fresh pecans and mushrooms too!