May 21, 2005
Spinach and Mushroom Salad
posted by Nadia


This spring, Carl and I decided to put our very sunny roof to good use -- a miniature vegetable garden. One weekend, we bought some starter plants, a couple of packets of seed, and hauled planters and potting soil up two flights of stairs, through the bedroom, and onto the roof. Because the roof is black rubber and our planters aren't too deep, this garden requires almost daily watering, which means carrying buckets of water from the second floor bathroom to the third floor roof every morning before work.

The fruits [vegetables?] of this labor of love are a couple of very happy heads of lettuce and spinach, three small tomato plants that seem reluctant to grow, and a few tiny beet shoots (started from seed), which I'm hoping will grow to edible size sometime before the first winter frost.

Given that the spinach plants are growing like crazy, I pulled off some of the larger leaves tonight to make my mother's famous spinach and mushroom salad. It's a simple but delicious combination of young spinach leaves, sliced raw button muchrooms, and crumbled bacon. The dressing, which is a favorite of mine, begins with a base of mayonnaise, to which you add some minced garlic, a good amount of lemon juice, salt, and freshly ground black or white pepper. Because of the mayonnaise base, the dressing emulsifies very easily when you whisk in your oil. I believe the recipe originally called for using some bacon fat in addition to oil, but I typically just use equal parts olive oil and neutral vegetable oil (so that the flavor doesn't get too olive-y). This creamy dressing, which is like a loose aioli, is also great over asparagus.