Warm spinach salad with bacon, mushrooms, and a poached egg

A tasty salad is even more delicious when using farm-fresh ingredients.

Beyond The Peel
A spinach salad topped with bacon and a poached egg.

We are completely devoted to Tannadice bacon and these farm eggs we get from the bakery on the corner of our street. I wish every farm could be like Tannadice. Check out their website to learn about their ethical practices. Let me say, a healthy pig makes for ridiculously tasty bacon. It really does make a difference. I’ve actually woken up in the middle of the night thinking about their bacon. 

That led me here. To making this salad.

We’ve made versions of this salad several times in the last few weeks. I’m sure if you’re vegetarian you could do something similar by using oil and just mushrooms and it would be delicious, so don’t let the whole bacon thing throw you off. But I will digress here to tell you that one of Joshua’s vegetarian friends orders a veggie burger with bacon, so it’s true, bacon is the Achilles heal for many a vegetarian. Ye have been warned!

I don’t need to tell you the difference between healthy eggs and unhealthy ones because the proof is not in the pudding, it’s in the yolk. It’s all about the color.

I first laid eyes on one of these bright yolks when my sister was making me breakfast. It’s been probably a decade since that introduction, but I remember thinking something was wrong. “No egg should look like that!” or so I thought. My sister proceeded to tell me the truth. That bright yellowy orange yolk came from a healthy birds and that they tasted amazing. She was right. The buttery rich flavor that comes from happy eggs is unlike what you’ll get at your typical supermarket. Head to your local farmer's market to take the taste challenge yourself. 

Portion Note: This warm spinach salad recipe is written in for one person, but multiply the ingredients by the number of people you’re feeding.

Wilted Spinach Salad with Bacon and a Poached Egg

2 strips bacon (Vegetarian option, use 2 Tbsp Olive oil instead)
2 cups spinach
1 egg (optional)
6 cups water
2 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Asiago as a garnish (optional)

If you’re making eggs, feel free to make boiled or poached eggs. For those new to making poached eggs, this video will be helpful.  Put the water and vinegar in a pot and bring it to a boil. Skip this step if you’re not making eggs.

Meanwhile slice the bacon into 1 inch strips. Peel or clean the mushrooms. Slice or quarter the mushrooms, depending on size. Heat a frying pan over medium high heat. Once the frying pan is hot, add the bacon and fry until the fat starts to render. This takes about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the bacon.

Once the water starts to boil, reduce the temperature just slightly so the water is just below boiling point. I add the eggs to the hot water after the mushrooms have been cooking for about 5 minutes. I like my mushrooms really well done so I’ll cook them for 10 minutes or until they are golden. Stir often to prevent burning.

Depending on the size of the eggs, they’ll take about 2 minutes for a soft poached egg. Cook a minute or 2 longer for medium poached eggs. Eggs are a very individual thing, so the more often you make them, the more you’ll know the exact time to cook them to suit your tastes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs and lay on a tea towel or paper towel to remove any excess water. Place 2 cups of spinach on a plate.

When the mushrooms are cooked, add 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar to the mushroom/bacon mixture. Stir the vinegar and the mushrooms together. Top the salad with the bacon mushroom mixture and then top with the egg. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with shaved Asiago. I use a carrot peeler to make the cheese garnish.

Related post: Homemade salad dressing

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