Warm Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing and Soft Eggs
Thank you to Safest Choice Eggs for sponsoring this post
Back when I was a newlywed, Mr. Mom’s Kitchen and I shared a tiny apartment in New York City just a few blocks from NYU, where I was going to grad school. The kitchen was a mere afterthought, something you could miss if you blinked once on your way down a narrow hall to our miniature bathroom. There wasn’t a single kitchen counter and our dining table folded, so we could stow it in the corner of our living room, pulling it out each night for dinner. Despite the challenges of our circumstances, I was an enthusiastic new bride and a passionate home cook. I wanted to entertain our growing community of friends and this Warm Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing became a dinner party staple.
Spinach Salad Was Always a Hit
Prepping for these parties was a mad hustle for space. It involved making each dish, one-by-one, and stowing them on any available spot in the apartment: the top of a bedroom dresser, a living room chair, the coffee table, and so on. By the time guests arrived, the dining table would be set up, swallowing the whole of our living room, and the apartment would be festooned with the dishes for the meal. It was crazy and wonderful. I was in madly in love and didn’t care.
I had a rotation of favorite dishes at the time: Tomato bruschetta, baked artichokes with bread crumbs, lemon tart, roast chicken with tiny potatoes, and this warm spinach salad. Among all of them, it was routinely the salad that got the most praise. Gently wilted in a pan with garlic, shallots, and bacon, it was finished with a splash of balsamic vinegar, which was new on the culinary scene in those days.
Warm Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing
I’d sort of forgotten about the salad, which I must have made a dozen times in that apartment. But when asked to develop a salad recipe featuring eggs, that wilted spinach came to mind. I’ve updated it by swapping out the bacon for crispy prosciutto and including a couple of soft cooked eggs, which add a richness that makes it as suitable for a main course as it is for a side.
Spinach Salad with or Without Bacon
This is an easy salad to adapt. You can swap in bacon for prosciutto or leave the meat out entirely. You can also do any number of additional swaps to suit your tastebuds. Here are a few suggestions:
- Add slices of ripe avocado
- Scatter little croutons over the top
- Cut cherry tomatoes in half to add to the salad
- Shave Parmesan or Pecorino on the finished dish
- Make it even heartier by adding slices of cooked chicken breast on the side.
However you decide to make this salad, know that it’s just as delicious as I remember. And while it is a whole lot easier to prepare in a proper kitchen, I do miss that little apartment and the magic of those newlywed days.
If you like Warm Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing, Check Out:
Warm Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing, Soft Eggs, and Crispy Prosciutto
Spinach salad gets dressed up here with the addition of a perfectly cooked soft egg and crispy, prosciutto. Make it more of a main dish by cooking four eggs instead of two and serving it with slices of grilled or crusty bread to mop up the tasty goods at the bottom of the bowl.
- 4 thin slices prosciutto
- 2 eggs, such as Safest Choice Pasteurized eggs
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 pound fresh spinach (not baby spinach), stems removed, washed, and dried
- 1-2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1-2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lay the prosciutto slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Fill a small saucepan that has a lid with 1/2 inch of water. Set it over medium-high heat. When the water comes to a boil, put the eggs in, cover with the lid and set a timer immediately for 6 1/2 minutes.
While the eggs cook, pour the oil in a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and saute until slightly tender, a minute or 2. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Drop the heat to low, add the spinach and use tongs to turn the leaves in the pan just to wilt them slightly. When the majority of the spinach is lightly wilted, turn off the heat. Drizzle in the vinegars and a generous pinch of salt. The spinach will stay warm in the pan and continue to wilt while you finish prepping the eggs.
When your timer rings for the eggs, remove them from the pot and run under cold water until cool enough to handle. Peel the eggs and gently cut them in half.
Divide the spinach over four small plates. Break the prosciutto into shards and add to the spinach. Top each plate with 1/2 of an egg. Top each egg with a small pinch of salt and a crack of black pepper. Serve immediately.