Why should you make this spinach salad with bacon tarragon dressing? Well… umm…bacon….need I say more? Let’s just say it’s a sneaky way to bribe your husband and kids into eating more vegetables!
Aside from the not so healthy bacon (you do feel better when it’s nitrate free, believe me) spinach is packed full of rich beta-carotene, iron, and an excellent source of vitamins A and C.
There should be no problem finding fresh organic spinach to make this salad. Fresh packaged spinach seems to be in every grocery store these days. I love the fact that in January I can buy organic spinach that is triple washed and looks great. Not so long ago spinach was mostly sold in bundles with half the leaves bruised and wilted, not to mention the clumps of dirt hanging off it! In addition to the spinach and bacon, this salad also contains healthy almonds and mushrooms.
Spinach salad with bacon tarragon dressing could be a satisfying easy mid-week or weekend meal.
The almonds and the croutons add a nice crunch.
Tarragon adds to the dressings unique flavour. If you do make the dressing ahead and place it in the refrigerator, be sure to remove it and let it come to room temperature before serving.
Perhaps I should mention that this salad tastes terrific! It doesn’t hurt that the smokey bacon fat is even included in the dressing. Don’t worry, it’s not too much, just enough to make it taste fantastic.
When looking at the above photo you will notice that I used raw mushrooms. That’s because my original recipe that I’ve been making for years calls for raw mushrooms. I, however, prefer them sauteed in ( you guessed) a tiny bit of bacon fat. Just enough to take that spongy texture out of them. So, anyway, I included photos of both versions, you get to decide how you want to eat them.
- 4 -6 strips of bacon (try to get no nitrate)
- ½ - 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
- ⅓ cup slivered almonds (I left some whole and toasted them)
- 10-12 oz. fresh spinach (preferably organic). Baby spinach is great if you can find it as the stems are trimmed.
- croutons (optional)
- ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 2 tablespoons bacon drippings
- 2 cloves fresh garlic minced
- ¾-1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Place bacon in a large skillet and fry over medium heat until crispy. Remove from heat and blot between paper towels to remove excess grease. Tear bacon into bite size pieces. Save two tablespoons of the bacon drippings to add to the dressing.
- If desired, saute the sliced mushrooms in the skillet that you used to fry the bacon, but make sure there is not too much grease left in the pan. Saute about 4 minutes or until they just start to "sweat". They seem to wilt a little more after they have been added to the salad, so make sure not to over cook them. Remove from skillet and place in salad bowl.
- Mix olive oil, bacon drippings, garlic, tarragon, vinegar, salt and pepper together. Blend well. The oil and vinegar have a tendency to separate, so mix well again just before pouring over salad.
- Rinse the spinach, drain and dry. Place the spinach, bacon pieces, almonds, croutons, and fresh mushrooms if using, into a large salad bowl. Pour over dressing.
- Toss gently, but thoroughly. Serve immediately. (This salad will not keep well once the dressing has been added.)
- Should serve 6-8 people.