Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Spinach Salad with Bacon


When the pandemic lockdown began, the thinking was that we would be quarantined for about two weeks. (That was three months ago.) I stocked up on food, including snack foods. Mentally I was treating it like "snow days." A few days inside and then things would be back to normal. 

But as the days at home went on and on, I kept eating like I was on vacation. Then it became comfort eating. We had extra treats. I baked more. And then I realized my pajamas were tight. So after some mental struggle I realized that I had a rare chance, one where I had total control over the foods we ate. I alone am making food decisions for our household. Three meals a day. 

No more lunch out at the local Southern cooking buffet. No boat ride across the lake for dinner, where we are usually tempted by appetizer and dessert. No weekly book club (which I have missed desperately) where we take turns bringing the dinner that always includes dessert. Instead of looking at this as a hardship, I saw it as an opportunity for a food reset. So weeks ago I began planning meals with more vegetables, more whole grain foods, more fruits as treats. And I'm happy to say the pajamas already feel better. 

Our local restaurants re-opened a couple of weeks ago, but we have opted to stay home longer. Just not ready to jump back in the deep end yet. And so we continue to eat vegetable focused meals. We are "learning to like" whole wheat pasta. ("Learning to like it" is what the little granddaughters say when they have a food they DON'T like.) I am making more sheet pan meals, which as easy to cook and easy to clean up and loaded with veggies, and making the occasional meatless meal.

Our salad supper--spinach salad and whole wheat pasta salad

So today I share a spinach salad we are loving. I made it for the third time last week. I only made a half recipe for the two of us. Before someone tries to do the math and divide 1/3 cup in half, stop! You don't need to get out the calculator. Just get out the 1/3 cup from your measuring cup set and fill it halfway. That's practical "kitchen math." (FYI, 1/4 cup divided in half is 2 tablespoons.)

SPINACH SALAD with BACON (adapted from NYT Cooking)

1 to 1-1/2 lb fresh baby spinach 
2 hard-cooked egg, coarsely chopped
6 slices lean bacon
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup finely minced parsley (optional)

Pick over spinach and remove tough stems and blemished leaves. Cut into bite-size pieces. (There should be about 16 cups of of spinach.) Put spinach in large bowl. Sprinkle eggs over spinach.

Fry bacon until crisp and drain well. Chop or crumble the bacon.

In a small skillet, heat oil and add the garlic and bacon pieces. Cook briefly, being careful not to burn the garlic. Bring to a boil and add the vinegar. Remove from heat. Let it cool one minute. Pour over spinach and egg. Add parsley if using. Toss to coat.

The second time I poured the dressing over the spinach as soon as I took it off the stove. It really wilted the spinach, which is probably how it should be. But we decided we liked it better not quite as wilted. The first time I made it, the dressing had cooled a minute while I sprinkled the egg over the spinach. We liked the salad better with that tiny cooling off period.

This last time I had a small amount left and popped it in the refrigerator for lunch the next day. It's not particularly good left over. 

EDITOR'S NOTE:  I just realized that I had already posted this recipe a month ago and here it is again. Yep. We liked it that much.

1 comment:

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