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.
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 tart apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
How to Make It
Heat the oven to 350°. Toast the walnuts until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Let cool.
In a large frying pan, cook the bacon until it is crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels and then crumble it.
In a small glass or stainless-steel bowl, whisk the vinegar with the mustard, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the oil.
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.
Menu Suggestions: Hot garlic bread, served either plain or with a little Parmesan cheese, goes well with all the flavors here.
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.