Sometimes you feel like bacon sometimes you don’t, who am I kidding you should always feel like bacon. Hot bacon dressing is a classic recipe that has been part of my family for years, salty and sweet. The steakhouse classic: mushroom, spinach and mandarin orange salad is a favorite of my husband’s…so I decided to combine the two into a hot bacon salad that has become a favorite dinner for us. This salad is easy to throw together and the dressing can be made in advance and reheated when you are ready to serve the salad. Mandarin Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing is a decadent accompaniment to a steak dinner or with a little crusty bread it can be a simple and satisfying meal on its own.
This salad exemplifies why you can cook better at home than in a restaurant. Few restaurants offer a hot bacon dressing salad and when they do it is expensive. The bacon is skimpy and often the dressing is bland, cold or oily. At home with this recipe you will not have any of those restaurant related complaints. Love bacon? Add an extra strip or two! Dressing need more zip? Up the vinegar and add a dash of salt before it goes on the spinach. I can promise the trip from your stove to your dinner table is shorter than from the back of a restaurant kitchen to you sitting at table 12, so getting it hot will not be an issue. Go crazy! As a home chef you can toss a few cherry tomatoes in or sprinkle some some blue cheese crumbles on top, food made at home is the you want it not how a restaurant menu tells you to eat it.
Mandarin Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
- 6 strips thick cut bacon
- 1 pint mushrooms sliced
- 1 medium onion sliced
- 1 15 oz can of mandarin oranges
- 1-2 tbs of brown sugar
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 12 oz bag fresh baby or small leaf spinach
- Salt and Pepper
Cut the bacon into 1-2 inch chunks and fry over medium heat to render out the fat and crisp the bacon. Set the cooked bacon aside and reserve all the drippings. In the bacon drippings sauté the mushrooms until starting to brown just a little, use medium high heat stirring occasionally. Add in the sliced onion and turn down the heat, flavor with salt and a generous amount of pepper. Cook until the onions are soft and clear. About 5–8 minutes.
Add the liquid from the can of orangs and let reduce by at least half. When reduced add in the oranges, vinegar and the brown sugar. Cook until the oranges breakdown and the dressing thickens a bit. Return the bacon to the pan.
Taste the dressing and add sugar, salt or vinegar as needed. When ready to serve pour the hot dressing over the spinach greens and toss gently.
2 of the kid’s uneaten mandarin orange snack cups from their school lunches work just as well as a can.
Serves 4 people as a side dish or 2 for dinner.