Spinach Salad (with a Hard Boiled Egg FAIL)
This, my friends, is false. Oh so very false.
Lucky for me, today was a semi-grocery day. So I already had everything on the list that I needed to make this particular dish.
Today's meal came in the form of a classic spinach salad with a warm bacon vinaigrette. Mmmm...
Yes, I know what you're thinking: "Bacon vinaigrette? Hello! It's still January which means it's STILL resolution season jerkface. How dare you tempt me with delicious pack-the-fat-on-my-thighs bacon. You are such a jerk. Ya jerk."
Relax. It's a spinach salad. Besides, you're putting maybe two tablespoons of the bacon vinaigrette on the salad (depending on the size you eat). And not only that, but you certainly won't be eating this every day thank you very much.
I also realize that this is not a seasonal dish, because spinach really isn't in season right now, but sometimes in the winter I need to break up my warm and cozy meals with something a little bit fresher. This definitely hit the spot.
So I'm going to type the recipe I used to make this vinaigrette, which comes from my Garde Manger textbook from culinary school (Garde Manger: The Art and Craft of the Cold Kitchen (Culinary Institute of America). It's not scary I promise. And I'm making a few adjustments because either I didn't have exactly what I needed, or I just didn't feel like using what I needed to use. I am also going to do my best to alter the amounts because, like most culinary textbooks, a lot of these recipes are done by weight and I realize that not a lot of us have scales for culinary use at home. No worries. I'm gonna do my best to make it easy on you.
Makes approximately 4 servings
The first ingredient is bacon. What we do at my house is we lay a piece of tinfoil on a baking sheet (enough to cover up around the edges) and roast the entire package of bacon in the oven at 375. How long? Until it's done. My mom likes floppy bacon. I like my bacon crispy and crackly. It's up to you. Pull it out when it's done.
1/4 cup minced shallots (I used a white onion...whatevs. It's what I had)
1/2 tsp of minced garlic
3 tbsp brown sugar (light or dark, whatevs)
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup sliced button mushrooms
1/3 cup red onion
4 hard boiled eggs, 1 per person (more on that later)
salt and pepper to taste
Start by roasting the bacon in the oven. When that's done, pour (or scoop with a spoon) the bacon fat into a medium saute pan and reserve the roasted bacon on paper towels. Add the minced shallot (or onion) and garlic and sweat until soft. Don't put too high of heat on this because you'll burn the garlic. Turn off the heat and add the brown sugar (I did a pinch at a time until I got what I thought was 3 tbsp of brown sugar, this is really to taste). With a whisk, mix in the vinegar. Now is a good time to taste it by the way. It'll be hot, it's a warm vinaigrette, but give it a try and ask yourself if you like the balance. Is it too rich? Add more vinegar. Too sour? Add some more brown sugar. Needs something? Add some salt and pepper. Vinaigrettes are all about balance, and it's important not to have too much of something or it will be weird.
Toss the mushrooms, red onions and hard boiled eggs with the spinach (I added my eggs last on top, looks prettier, aww) and then spoon some of the vinaigrette on top of the salad. You can take the bacon you roasted and cut it up with scissors on top of the salad, or just use the same cutting board you used to cut up your onions.
Now. I know you all want to hear about the hard boiled egg FAIL. Here's the truth...I am incompetent at making hard boiled eggs. Yep. I can make a warm bacon vinaigrette, but I can not, for the life of me, make a freakin' hard boiled egg! My mom makes perfect hard boiled eggs, as you can see in the photo above. When I make them there's either the middle of the yokes is not done, or there's a hideous green ring around the edge of the yoke. BLEGH! I just, I dunno. I can't do it. And it literally KILLS ME that I can't figure it out. I'll give you my mom's recipe for them, because she swears by it but for some reason her recipe hates me.
Add cold water to the eggs, and heat them to just under boiling. Then set a timer for 10 minutes. Now, this is important, you have to cool down the eggs quickly to keep that ring from forming, so either fish the eggs out with a slotted spoon and dunk them into ice water to immediately stop the cooking (what is this method called? Comment please!!). Or, you can do what my mom does and dump the water out, add cold water and dump ice into the pot and wait for them to cool.
It works for her. Not for me. HARD BOILED EGG FAIL.
I hope it works for you!