This is one of my mother's favorite salads, so I made it for her birthday dinner. She used to always say she did not like spinach, which was odd for a woman who ate just about everything, but I made this salad years ago and once she ate it she changed her mind about spinach. I think spinach got a bad name from the days when it was just creamed or cooked like other greens, but not seasoned well. Personally, it's one of my favorite greens to cook with, because it's so flexible and can be used in so many ways. I grow my own spinach for the limited window we have here in Kentucky that it can survive. I love having it available when I want it.
I will admit that the star of the show in this salad is the dressing though. Every year for my big Christmas get together, our nephews on my husband's side of the family always ask, "Did you make the warm bacon dressing and the stuffed mushrooms?" not what is the dessert or what is the main course, but the warm bacon dressing and the mushrooms...lol. It's a family favorite and it's not hard to make at all. Here is what you will need for the salad and dressing:
1 bag baby spinach (10 oz.)
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced green onions (including some of the green blades)
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced or rough chopped
1 cup shredded Parmesan or Swiss cheese
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)
7-8 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled (divided)
bacon drippings from frying the bacon
1 Tbs. minced garlic
2 Tbs. vinegar (white or apple cider, doesn't matter)
2 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. Dijon or spicy brown mustard
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. celery seed (optional)
dash of black pepper
dash of seasoned salt
1 Tbs. cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 cup cold water
3 strips of the bacon crumbled into the dressing after it is thickened
Fry the bacon in a skillet and leave the drippings in the pan for the dressing. If it's more than 2 Tbs. pour the extra off.
Layer the salad ingredients in the order given in a pretty glass salad bowl, finishing with 4-5 strips of the bacon, crumbled.
Saute the garlic in the bacon drippings just slightly, don't burn it or it will be bitter. Stir in the vinegar, sugar, mustard and the cornstarch dissolved in water. Bring it up just to a bubble and add the honey, mayonnaise, celery seed, black pepper, and seasoned salt. Whisk until smooth and don't boil, but just cook until it's thickened slightly. It thickens more once you take it off the heat and serve it. Go light on the salt and pepper because it's already seasoned with the bacon drippings. Crumble the three reserved strips of bacon into the dressing.
Pour the dressing into a serving bowl just right before serving so that it remains warm and I let guests put their own on the salad to their taste.