One thing I love about summer is the abundance of fruits and vegetables. No other season gets me to eat better than summer, and that’s not just because I’m trying to get right for my swimsuit. The colors are brighter, the juices are sweeter, and everything just bursts in your mouth. This past week, I’ve been gorging myself on strawberries and grapes. The strawberries have been enormous and such a rich color red, you think it will stain your fingertips. The grapes have had taut skins and sweet flesh that taste great by themselves, and even better when tossed into a salad with a champagne and shallot vinaigrette. There have been many a salad enjoyed over lunch the past few days.
As for the veggies, we’ve done a lot of kebabs studded with squash, zucchini, chunks of red onion, and tri-color pepppers. The simplicity of preparation — chops, marinate in salad dressing or salt, pepper and olive oil, and grill — only adds to the appeal. I’ll grill up the vegetables, add some chicken or shrimp, a salad and some crusty bread – -voila! Dinner is served.
I’m all about ease when it comes to meal times. While I haven’t quite gotten the girls on board with “just salad” for dinner, they’re coming around to having half their plate be fruits and vegetables. C thinks nothing of asking for a whole orange, apple slices and a huge scoop of peanut butter as a meal. M swaps the orange out for carrot sticks and V will eat just about anything if the promise of dessert looms on the horizon. Some nights, when we’ve been ripping and running from day camp to the pool to playdates to errands and back again, fruit salad is the plat du jour for my little ones. More often than not, everyone is a member of the Clean Plate Club.
As for me, I need some protein in my life on a regular basis. When I say protein, I should tell the truth and say chicken or steak. I don’t eat cheese. Beans aren’t going to cut it. A hard boiled egg will do in a pinch, but I’ve got to be desperate. I’ll eat salad all day long and twice on Sunday, but I’ve got to have a side of meat to go with it. My salads are usually topped with grilled chicken. Occasionally, I’ll do shrimp, if I can nab a few pieces from the leftover tupperware container. Add to that some baby lettuces, sliced red onion, a few grape tomatoes and I’m good to go. I’ve left the “kitchen sink salads” behind me in favor of cleaner taste profiles. Gone are the days when I’d throw every veggie the fridge had to offer into a Corningware baking dish. Seriously, I was doing “the big salad” way before Elaine Benes. As my cooking skills developed, so did my appreciation for flavor profiles. Why dump all the veggies together when you could do a Cobb Salad one day, a mixed field greens with onion and grapes the next, and a Caesar or Greek salad the day after that? So many options, so many lunches to enjoy.
Today’s recipe is one that I haven’t done in a while, primarily because I haven’t had any bacon in the house in weeks. Turkey bacon just isn’t going to get it done, by the way. This salad is great for lunch or for dinner. Add a crusty baguette and a nice chilled glass of white wine, you’re good to go!
Enjoy and Happy Friday, y’all!
Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing
recipe found here
- 3 whole Eggs
- 7 slices Thick Cut, Peppered Bacon
- 1 whole Red Onion, Small
- 1 package Mushrooms, White Button
- 8 ounces, weight Baby Spinach, Washed Dried And Stems Removed
- 3 Tablespoons Reserved Bacon Grease
- 3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- 1 dash Salt
- Cook eggs: cover with water, bring to a boil, then turn off heat and allow to sit in water for 20 minutes. Drain off water and add ice on top of eggs.
- Fry bacon until crispy/chewy. Remove to a paper towel.
- Remove 3 tablespoons grease and set aside.
- Add 2 add’l tablespoons of grease to a separate skillet over medium heat.
- Slice red onions very thinly, then add to skillet. Cook slowly until onions are caramelized and reduced. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Slice mushrooms and add them to the same skillet. Cook slowly until caramelized and brown. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Chop bacon.
- Peel and slice eggs.
- Make hot bacon dressing: Add 3 tablespoons bacon grease, vinegar, sugar, and Dijon to a small saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat. Whisk mixture together and heat thoroughly.
- Add spinach to a large bowl. Arrange onions, mushrooms, and bacon on top. Pour hot dressing over the top; toss to combine.
- Arrange eggs over the top and serve.