How to Make the Perfect Spinach, Blue Cheese, and Bacon Salad
All the right flavors, loads of toppings, and details for beginners make this recipe one for your short list
Photos by Olga Ivanova with food styling by Julie Smith
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I’ve been cooking a lot lately. You too? What with sticking close to home and the full complement of family members being present for all meals, all the time, it seems we barely clean up from one night’s dinner before it’s time to rustle up the next. Plus, in my part of northern California, it’s been pushing 90 degrees. Time to declare a salad-for-dinner night, I say. Time to treat ourselves to a big fluffy pile of spinach with crispy, salty bacon, tangy blue cheese, hard-boiled eggs, slivered red onion, and a bright, homemade Dijon vinaigrette.
And we just happen to have the perfect recipe.
In our new Yummly original recipe for Spinach, Blue Cheese, and Bacon Salad, Katie Workman, the talented — and busy — cook behind The Mom 100, The Mom 100 Cookbook, and Dinner Solved! gets all the details just right. This is the spinach salad you’re going to be turning to for years.
Does Katie’s family help in the kitchen? I wonder. Because I’m also thinking this could be the perfect opportunity for the less-experienced cooks in my own family to take a turn at dinner. In her recipe, which takes 30 minutes total time, Katie covers all the basics, so my very capable sons, for example, could have at it. Just sayin’.
Here’s a preview of the useful skills that are rolled into this totally doable recipe.
How to cook bacon. You'll want to set 6 slices bacon in a single layer in a large skillet. Medium heat is your friend for getting the bacon browned and crisp. And yeah, you gotta turn the bacon a couple of times so it will cook evenly. Transfer the bacon to paper towels using tongs or a slotted spoon. Katie uses regular bacon, but you could go for thick-cut bacon if you like.
How to hard-boil eggs. We say hard-boil, but the secret to tender eggs is to hard-cook them. Katie’s method has you boil large eggs gently for 2 minutes, then remove them from the heat to stand covered for 5 minutes if you like your yolks still a little jammy, 10 minutes if you like them firm but not dry.
How to make a simple homemade vinaigrette. Yes, you can buy a perfectly fine salad dressing. But making your own takes a few minutes, tops, and it’s cheap, once you have the ingredients. Grab a whisk and a bowl and combine extra-virgin olive oil, a little red wine vinegar, a dab of Dijon mustard and honey, and a little salt and black pepper. (Some spinach salad recipes have you make a warm bacon dressing with the bacon fat, but that kind of hot dressing requires more careful timing, so this easy vinaigrette is a great way to go for beginners.)
How to prep fresh spinach for spinach salad. OK, here Katie wisely punts and calls for 5 ounces of baby spinach, which is conveniently available triple-washed at the grocery store. But for bonus points you could start with a couple of bunches of spinach. They can harbor a lot of grit, so tear the leaves from the stems, swish them in a bowl of water, drain, and spin dry. You’ll need 8 cups loosely packed spinach leaves to make 5 ounces.
How to blow everyone away with your dramatic spinach salad presentation. Instead of tossing the salad in a salad bowl before bringing it to the table (totally fine, but things can get a bit banged up), you could place spinach leaves on a big platter. Arrange all those beautiful toppings in bands on top and drizzle with the dressing. Impressive, and practically no extra work.
Now before you dive in, I’ll just mention that this spinach salad serves 4 and makes 8 cups. If you’re sold on the big dinner salad idea, you just might want to double it...
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