Hot Spinach Salad makes a lovely dinner, particularly in winter. I like a little sandwich and just a few chips along with it to make a more substantial meal.
8 cups tender baby spinach
6 strips bacon OR 5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided AND 8 strips veggie “bacon”
8 mushrooms, thinly sliced
dash kosher salt
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
olives, your choice
parmesan cheese for garnish
Wash spinach and remove any large stems, nasty leaves or non-spinach. Rinse repeatedly, then spin dry. Place in a large bowl with room for tossing.
Chop bacon into 1/4 inch lengths with scissors and set to cook in a heavy pan. Or, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a heavy pan and chop veggie bacon into 1/4 inch lengths with scissors. In either case, cook until crisp.
While bacon is cooking: In a non-reactive pan, sauté mushrooms in remaining oil until nicely browned. Add a sprinkle of kosher salt. Carefully add balsamic vinegar to the hot pan (this works best without your face over the pan.) Cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add oregano.
Remove bacon from pan. If using actual bacon, eyeball fat or measure to make sure you have approximately 1/4 cup. Remove fat or add additional olive oil as needed. Return pan to heat. Add onions and cook just until they begin to soften.
Turn off all the burners. Add balsamic reduction to hot fat and onions and stir. Pour hot mixture right over the spinach. Put down the hot pan and toss the salad until each leaf is nicely coated with dressing. Top with olives, cucumber and/or parmesan (shave off curls with a vegetable peeler).