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I absolutely love this time of year—late spring, when the lure of the Farmers’ Market beckons. It’s one of our favorite ways to spend a Saturday morning, poking around the richly diverse offerings at the South of the James Market in Richmond. I found a vendor selling fresh organic spinach, and knew straightaway what we’d be having for dinner that night.

This recipe has been in my files for more than three decades. (Sheesh. That makes me sound old. If I said I started making it when I was eight I doubt you’d believe me. Nor should you.) I no longer remember the recipe’s provenance, and I’ve tweaked it enough over the years that I feel comfortable claiming it as my own. Crisp, flavorful, and eminently nutritious, this is the perfect salad for those days when it’s too hot to do anything with the stove other than boil some eggs and fry up some bacon. Enjoy!

Catalina Spinach Salad

1 pound fresh spinach
4 ounce can water chestnuts (optional)
4 ounces fresh mung bean sprouts
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3 to 4 hard-boiled eggs, cut into eighths
5 to 6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

For the Dressing:
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup sugar
1 scant teaspoon kosher salt

Wash, rinse, and dry the spinach, then remove the stems and tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Wash and dry the bean sprouts. Toss the ingredients (except for the bacon) together about one-half hour before serving; when ready to serve, add the bacon.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar or container with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well. Pour over salad and toss.

Note: If I’m making this salad for just two people, I find it best to toss only what we’ll eat, keeping the remainder of the ingredients unassembled in the refrigerator, since this salad is best when served shortly after preparation. The dressing keeps well in the refrigerator for about a week.