This is a simple, hearty salad that is often served as an entree at our house. With a cup of chilled soup and a piece of hearty bread, it makes a great summer meal on a hot day. Use only the freshest of spinach—be sure the leaves are chilled before pouring the dressing hot over the top. This is a salad I finish at the table for a dramatic effect when it crackles and wilts.
6 cups fresh spinach, washed, dried, and chilled
1 small red onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 to 3 slices bacon
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons crushed red chile
Freshly ground black pepper
Arrange the spinach in a large salad bowl, add the onions, and top with the eggs. Place the salad in the refrigerator and chill thoroughly.
Heat a skillet until medium hot, add the bacon and fry until crisp. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Crumble the bacon and reserve.
In a bowl, whisk the two vinegars together to combine.
Pour off all but 3 to 3 ½ tablespoons of the bacon fat from the skillet. Heat the fat and add the crushed chile, being very careful that the chile doesn’t burn.
Toss the salad with the vinegar mixture, pour the hot oil over the top and toss gently to coat and wilt. The spinach edges should be slightly softened and the remainder of the leaf still crisp. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper and the reserved crumbled bacon and serve on chilled salad plates.