The Sauce: Poppy Seed Vinaigrette – Polka dotted with poppy seeds, this tarragon infused vinaigrette is a sweet dressing with dry mustard and minced onion. It pairs well with this main dish salad adding depth and sweetness to the spinach and eggs.
Double the poppy seed dressing
When my sister Jo Ann makes this salad, she always doubles the dressing because the sauce is the star of the show. She loves to dress other salads later in the week with the leftover sauce. I was working on my ‘Spinach Salad Amid Fruit’ series a few weeks ago and sharing a few details about the recipes with Jo Ann. She told me about this fabulous spinach salad. Not on the series because it didn’t make the ‘fruit’ requirement, it is a spectacular combination of ingredients. It showcases smoky bacon and tender hard-cooked eggs. The tangy cranberries, sweet crunchy walnuts and creamy Jack cheese make each bite rich in contrasting flavors.
Yesterday I made dinner for a neighbor, Carrie, who just had a new baby. It’s her first. Along with this salad I delivered some Gazpacho, Chicken with Apple Cider and Bacon Sauce and Maple and Oatmeal scones with a couple extra scones for her new mom midnight snack. A few days later Carrie contacted me to say, ‘I loved your spinach salad. I wanted to eat slowly and savor it but it was so fabulous I just kept eating and eating. The dressing was so good you could drink it.’
Recipe: Bacon and Egg Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 0 Minutes | Yield: 10-12 Servings | Level: Easy
Poppy Seed Dressing
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
- 3/4 tsp ground dried mustard
- 2 tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp yellow onion, finely minced
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp poppy seeds
- 1 cup canola oil
Bacon and Egg Salad
- 12-15 oz baby spinach
- 4-6 slices crisp bacon, crumbled
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
- 1 small or 1/2 large red onion, sliced very thin
- 1 cup thinly sliced button mushrooms, about 5-6 medium
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup grated Monterrey Jack cheese, (4 ounces)
- 1/2 cup candied walnuts
1 Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake to combine. Or add to a food processor and while processing, slowly add the oil. In this case the onion could be coarsely chopped as it will become fine during processing.
2 Place the spinach, bacon, eggs, red onion, mushrooms, cranberries, cheese and walnuts to a large bowl. Pour dressing over all and gently toss. May save some eggs and bacon to garnish top of salad.
For candied walnuts, add 1/2 cup walnuts and 1/3 sugar to a sauté pan over medium heat. Stir constantly until sugar melts. Pour on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to cool.
Serve this salad build on individual plates for a first course salad fancy enough for company.
- Exchange cranberries for dried cherries, blueberries or raisins.
- Exchange red for Vidalia, Walla Walla, Maui or other sweet onions.
- Exchange button for crimini mushrooms.
- Exchange walnuts for pecans or sliced almonds.
Inspiration – Julie Reneer
Cook with Sauces
Written by Helen Horton
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: June 30, 2012