It’s amazing what a little sunshine can do for the spirits.
On the first of April I was railing on in disbelief about the thin blanket of snow that had fallen. I thought it was nature’s idea of an April Fool’s joke. It just doesn’t snow here in April. The winter seemed endless and I wondered when it was ever going to end.
But in Vancouver the weather can change in a heartbeat. The last several days have been wonderfully sunny–and warm. The kind of warm where you can go out in a light cotton jacket. I have been bounding out of bed early in the morning, eager to get outside for a walk around the park or wander over to the market to look at the produce and figure out what I might make next.
A few days ago I longed for comfort food. Hot soups and stews. Potato gratins and toasted cheese sandwiches. Now I’m plowing my way through mounds of strawberries and bundles of asparagus. And I started eating salad again.
It’s been awhile since I had a salad. Cold greens are not what I feel like eating when rain is falling down in buckets. With the sunshine streaming into my windows, I felt the first stirrings of desire for a salad. Spinach salad seemed to me the ideal “bridge” salad. The salad that takes you from winter to spring. Still hearty and satisfying with the bits of chopped egg and bacon, yet light, with tender spinach leaves and a garlicky dressing. I’ve already had it twice this week.
You can tailor this salad to your tastes. Sometimes I leave out the egg if I’m eating it as a first course. If I’m having it as my entree, I usually leave it in for the protein. Some people don’t like mushrooms, of course, but they add a nice contrasting texture to this salad.
1 9-ounce bag (225g) bag of prewashed spinach leaves
about 10 mushrooms, sliced very thin
4 slices European bacon, cooked and roughly chopped
2 hardboiled eggs, peeled and chopped
bacon drippings, from frying above bacon
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 large cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon mayonnnaise
3 tablespoons shaved or grated parmesan
1) Toss spinach and mushrooms in a salad bowl. Sprinkle with some salt.
2) Make the dressing: pour the bacon drippings in a clean glass jar. Add olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and mayonnaise. Put the lid on the jar and shake until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3) Just before serving add the chopped egg and bacon to the spinach and mushrooms. Pour dressing over the salad and toss with salad tongs. Garnish with parmesan and a bit more salt and pepper.