Spinach Salad: The John Malkovich of Salads

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Here’s the thing about spinach salad: it’s seems slightly more exotic than your average salad, right? But in the end it’s just a salad, like every other salad: some green stuff, some other stuff, some dressing.

But it’s also the kind of salad that people have very strong opinions about. Most people either detest it with every fiber of their being, or have a strange fetish like love for the brilliant combination of raw spinach, salty bacon, and perfectly cooked, sunshine-yellow yoked eggs. I guess you can probably guess where I fall on the spectrum, can’t you?

Ordinary ingredients, but when you put them all together and dress them with a warm bacon vinaigrette — EXTRAORDINARY. Which I think is a lot like John Malkovich, who really is just a regular actor dude. But man, people either hate him or talk about him like he is George Clooney covered in gravy and OMG HAVE YOU EVER SEEN SOMETHING SO DELICIOUS, JOHN MALKOVICH HOLY CRAP?

I don’t know if I feel that extreme, but I have to say if he one day hopped on my elevator, I may just hit the emergency stop button. Who knows?

Wow, this has gotten very off topic, hasn’t it? I’m sorry but sometimes while I’m washing dishes I have these very long involved tangents in this crazy brain of mine, and dammit I started a blog so I could share these tangents WITH THE WORLD!!!

You’re welcome.

Now let’s talk about the best spinach salad. The best spinach salad has 6 ingredients. Anyone can handle 6 ingredients, right? You probably keep them on hand anyway!

1. Spinach — bet you didn’t see that coming, did ya? Baby spinach, preferably. A giant mound of it. This is your foundation — make it a good one!

2. Perfectly Cooked Hard Boiled Eggs — I’m sure you have opinions on how to cook the perfect hard boiled egg, everyone does. Now don’t go being stingy with the egg. Make plenty because you can always eat them later. Chop them up in slivers and top with some flake salt and some course black pepper.

3. Way Too Much Bacon — If I’m using a bag of Trader Joe’s baby spinach, I’m thinking at least half a pound of bacon. What? Don’t judge. Bacon makes everything better. You will never feel like there is too much bacon on this salad.

4. Tomatoes — Little cherry tomatoes, Multi-colored baby heirlooms, chunks of juicy beefsteaks — it doesn’t matter. Just get some tomatoes in there. The sweetness and acidity cut through all of that bacon. And when you do add the tomatoes, salt them just the teeniest bit!

5. Cheese of Choice — Get crazy here. Sometimes I throw in shredded cheese just sitting in our fridge. Sometimes I do parmesan if that’s all we’ve got. Sarah does Blue Cheese and I think that sounds AMAZING but have never tried it (gasp!) Just get some cheese in there!

6. Warm Bacon Vinaigrette — If you are a person who likes red onion in your spinach salad — this is where you get the best bang for your buck! After you are done cooking your bacon and pulling it from the pan, mix those delicious bacon renderings with some chopped up onion or shallots. You only need to caramelize them for a second, then stir in some dijon mustard, a touch of apple cider vinegar, and a generous sprinkle of black pepper. Pour that baby straight from the pan right over the top of your greens.

After all of that, I promise that you will die happy. And if you pair it with a good John Malkovich movie and very full glass of red wine, you may even experience true spiritual enlightenment.

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