Growing up, we were very much the “sit down to dinner as a family and no TV” type of house. My mom cooked dinner nearly every night and we waited for my dad to get home from work, then we would sit at the table and eat together. Dinner usually consisted of a protein (chicken or beef), a starch (rice or baked potato), some type of vegetable (I always put up a fight) and a side salad. Surprisingly, I never fought the salad much, as long as I didn’t get any of the leaves near the inside of the head of lettuce. Outside, leafy lettuce only, please!
For many years, I was only exposed to iceberg lettuce, until one fateful day when we had lunch at my grandparents’. My grandma served this salad as part of dinner. It was the first time I had ever eaten raw spinach and I, amazingly, loved it. Truth be told, it may have had as much, or more, to do with the bacon as it did with the spinach. Afterwards, my mom made it occasionally and I was always eager to eat it. To this day, if I make myself a salad at home or at a salad bar, I always prefer baby spinach to lettuce of any kind.
This recipe was passed down from my great-grandmother and as far as I know the original ingredients were the spinach, bacon, onion and mushrooms. I always seemed to remember this salad with hard-boiled eggs and when I asked my mom, she said that she would often times add them when she made it. I love the inclusion of the eggs, as it adds some extra “oomph” to the salad. The warm dressing has a wonderful sweet and tangy flavor that pairs really well with all of the other ingredients.
This makes a fabulous main course salad for brunch, lunch or a light dinner, as well as an extra-special dinner side salad. I haven’t changed much since I was a kid… I’m still not crazy about vegetables, but if you dress them up with cheese or bacon, I’ll gobble them right up! ;-)
Make the Dressing: Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook over low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Let cool slightly and re-whisk before serving.
Arrange the spinach on plates and top with an equal amount of bacon, mushrooms, onion and sliced eggs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle the warm dressing over top and serve. Any leftover dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.