Like many classic American dishes involving bacon, Germans settlers, specifically those settling New England and Pennsylvania, including the Amish and Mennonites, likely brought spinach salad to the Americas. German immigrants brought a salad recipe which they served in springtime, composed of dandelion greens, bacon, vinegar and hardboiled eggs. The dandelion salad later evolved into the more familiar spinach salad, which substitutes the dandelion greens for spinach, another spring green, and includes red onions and mushrooms. Pennsylvania produces the greatest number of mushrooms, an industry started by the Quakers in the late 19th century and increases the likelihood the spinach salad has Pennsylvanian Dutch roots. The mushrooms and onions can be added raw, but I like to slightly warm both ingredients before add them, so the spinach becomes even more warm and wilted when served as a salad. Spinach salad is delicious with another German dish, potato salad.
4 c spinach, roughly torn
½ red onion, thinly sliced
8 button mushrooms, quartered
2 eggs, hardboiled, peeled and roughly chopped
8 strips bacon, cut into 1" pieces
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
¼ tsp mustard
¼ tsp honey
salt and pepper
1. Place the spinach in a large bowl and set aside. Combine the vinegar, mustard and honey in a small bowl, whisk and set aside.
2. Heat a large pan over medium heat, add the bacon and fry until golden brown. Remove the bacon, leaving the fat in the pan and toss the bacon with the spinach.
3. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the onion and sauté until slightly browned. Add the mushrooms and gently sauté with the onions until they are lightly cooked. Turn the heat off and remove the onions and mushrooms and toss them with the spinach and bacon.
4. Pour the vinegar mixture into the pan, whisk well pour over the ingredients in the bowl and toss well. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.