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Sometimes unexpected pairings turn out to be the best, and today’s recipe proves the case. This spinach salad with strawberries and bacon makes for a sweet and salty combination that’s so much better than boring greens. Elizabeth from Brooklyn Supper shows us how…

strawberry-salad-with-bacon

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Bacon
by Elizabeth Stark of Brooklyn Supper

I’ve noticed something about salads, especially ones made from dark leafy greens. These virtuous vegetables – packed with nutrition, superfoods, detoxifying, yada yada – are consumed far too virtuously. We don’t hesitate to toss roasted cauliflower with handfuls of cheese, sweet potatoes and carrots get a hit of brown sugar from time to time, and the things we do to tomatoes and potatoes border on obscene. But we expect leafy greens to stand in the corner adjusting their halos, while the other vegetables have all the fun. There’s nothing wrong with eating healthful food healthfully, but the best way to maximize the benefits of leafy greens is to actually eat them. (And the better they taste, the more you’ll eat.)

One great way to add a little more flavor to vegetables, without straight-up undoing all their inherent goodness, is to use a little bacon. Even with something as simple as a salad, a small amount of pork can really boost flavor. With that in mind, I threw together this simple salad made with crisp bacon, sliced strawberries and tender spinach.

Smoky bits of bacon play on the sweet strawberries and savory spinach beautifully, while minced shallots add a little kick and balsamic vinegar saturates everything with just the right amount of sour. Besides a smattering of chopped bacon folded in with the other ingredients, the dressing features a drizzle of bacon grease whisked in with shallots, balsamic, Dijon mustard and olive oil. It’s delicious and healthful and satisfying all at the same time. Even better, you can throw this pretty creation together in minutes, all the while showing folks that angelic spinach knows how to have a good time, too.

salad-with-strawberriesbacon

Recipe: Strawberry Spinach Salad With Bacon

You’ll need:

6 strips bacon
2 tbsp finely minced shallot (about 1 large)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
sea salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch spinach, trimmed, rinsed well, and rough chopped
1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered
black pepper

Set a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Cook the bacon until crisp. Set on a paper towel-lined plate to cool. Reserve 2 tablespoons bacon grease.

Pour 2 tablespoons warm bacon grease into a small bowl with minced shallot. Use a fork to whisk in the balsamic, Dijon, honey and a pinch of sea salt. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. It’s just fine if the dressing doesn’t emulsify completely.

Chop the bacon.

Place spinach in a large salad bowl. Drizzle with several tablespoons dressing and toss to coat. Scatter strawberries and bacon, add another drizzle of vinaigrette, and finish with a pinch of sea salt and several twists freshly ground black pepper. Serve right away.

 

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Thank you so much, Elizabeth!

P.S. More recipes, including the best Caesar salad and easy kale chips.

(Photos and recipe by Elizabeth Stark. Thanks to Caroline Donofrio for helping with this series.)