This warm vinaigrette, which is a pan-dressing I made using vinegar for acid, honey for sweetness and shallots for bite, all to complement the smoky, salty flavor of bacon, wilts the baby spinach greens and coats everything in lovely, glistening fat. But the best part, in my opinion, is the apple. One large Honeycrisp from the large wooden bowl of apples Violet and I picked at Schoolhouse Farm, a stand on Route 1 in Warren that makes some of the best apple cider doughnuts I’ve ever had.
We went early on a Friday morning and there was no one else in the winding orchard. We walked through corn fields, past rusty old trucks, wooden ladders propped against pear trees, and a pumpkin patch. There were no pony rides or apple cider presses or hay bale mazes, just us, the birds, and the bluest sky. Schoolhouse Farm has a farm stand on Route 1 in Warren; they sell some of the best apple cider doughnuts I’ve ever had.
- 6 pieces thick-cut bacon, diced
- 1 tablespoon shallot
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups baby spinach
- ½ cup crumbled bleu cheese
- 1 large apple, peeled, cored, diced
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and sliced (optional)
- In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp and brown; use a slotted spoon to remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Whisk in shallot, honey, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper to the rendered bacon fat. Pour the warm dressing over spinach greens, cheese, apple and chicken and toss. Serve with crusty, buttered bread and lots of crisp white wine.