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Spinach Salad with Smoked Chicken, Apple, Walnuts, and Bacon

Yield 4
Celebrate autumn's apple season with this delicious and substantial salad. We call for the thick-sliced, smoked chicken now available in the meat department of supermarkets. Of course, you can always use smoked turkey from the deli counter instead. If you like a more pronounced sweet-and-sour flavor, use another teaspoon of vinegar.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 pound sliced bacon
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup cooking oil
  • 2/3 pound smoked and sliced boneless chicken breast
  • 1 pound spinach, stems removed, leaves washed (about 9 cups)
  • 1 small red onion, chopped fine
  • 1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

How to Make It

  1. Heat the oven to 350°. Toast the walnuts until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Let cool.

  2. In a large frying pan, cook the bacon until it is crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels and then crumble it.

  3. In a small glass or stainless-steel bowl, whisk the vinegar with the mustard, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the oil.

  4. In a large bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the dressing with the chicken. Let sit for about 5 minutes so that the chicken absorbs the dressing. Add the walnuts, bacon, spinach, onion, apple, and the remaining dressing and toss.

  5. Menu Suggestions: Hot garlic bread, served either plain or with a little Parmesan cheese, goes well with all the flavors here.

  6. Wine Recommendation: This substantial fall salad, with its hearty flavors, will taste great with a Beaujolais or, for something off the beaten path, a fruity pinotage from South Africa. In either case, chill the bottle for fifteen minutes or so before serving.

Quick From Scratch Chicken