Making its claim to fame as the perfect accompaniment to a spinach salad, hot bacon salad dressing gets its name not from spicy heat, but because it is served warm. The dressing is made with chopped bacon, bacon grease and a few other ingredients, making it a rich and flavorful dressing, designed to be served nice and hot on a salad. Somewhat more time consuming than a basic oil and vinegar dressing, hot bacon salad dressing remains an easy way to wow your fellow diners.
Preparation and Ingredients
Start by cooking up five to six slices of bacon in a skillet. Once the bacon is done cooking, remove the slices, drain them on paper towels, then chop the bacon into smaller pieces and set aside. Don't throw out the bacon grease, as this is the base of the dressing. You'll need at least 4 tablespoons of grease. You'll also need 1 tablespoon white or brown sugar, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, 4 tablespoons of vinegar -- choose between red wine, white wine or apple cider vinegar -- and salt and pepper to taste.
For the best tasting dressing, choose thick-cut bacon.
Making the Dressing
Add the sugar, mustard and chosen vinegar to the bacon grease and cook on medium-low heat, stirring consistently until the sugar has completely dissolved. Once it's cooked, reduce the heat to low and season with salt and pepper, letting the dressing simmer until you're ready to use it. When it's time to serve, toss the chopped bacon back in the dressing for a minute, stirring to mix it in, then pour the dressing over the salad and serve.
Serving the Dressing
Hot bacon salad dressing is traditionally paired with a spinach salad, but you're by no means limited to a plate of greens. The dressing will complement a number of foods, so try mixing up the spinach salad. A sweet and savory combo might include candied walnuts, red grapes and red onions, or go vegetable rich with peppers, mushrooms and onions. You can even make it a protein-packed spinach salad by tossing in hard-boiled eggs, avocado and a strong crumbly cheese such as Gorgonzola or blue cheese. Start with the spinach base and get creative based on your taste.
Salad dressing, whether homemade or store-bought, has a shorter shelf life, and this hot bacon salad dressing is no exception. Your best bet is to make it just before serving, as it will taste best fresh. If you must make it ahead of time or have a little left over to store, you can keep it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, though the sooner you can use it, the better it will taste.