Spinach is such a versatile, healthy, year-round vegetable. It can be steamed, sautéed, put in soups, soufflés, pastas or eaten raw in salads or on sandwiches. This version has it tossed with a warm balsamic dressing that has not only the olive oil, but the added flavor of bacon drippings. The spinach is just slightly wilted, the parsnips and bacon are crunchy, the mushrooms are earthy, the onions add bit of sweetness and the toasted pine nuts are buttery. I think a good rich balsamic (and I really love the Olivier VSOP brand from Napa) adds just the right tartness to the dressing. There is so much going on with this salad that with a slice of a good crusty bread it can easily be the main course.
Wash and dry the spinach and remove any tough stems. Place the spinach in your salad serving bowl.
Slice the bacon into 1/4" strips, clean and slice the mushrooms, and slice the sweet red onion. Lightly toast the pine nuts. Use a vegetable peeler to peel off thin strips of the parsnips. Set all aside
Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet. When hot, add the sliced parsnips. Keep tossing them in the oil until they are crispy. Remove and set aside on a sheet of paper towel to drain.
Add the sliced bacon to the pan and cook until crispy, then add the mushrooms and thinly sliced red onions. Once the mushrooms are cooked and the red onions start to brown, add the remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and pine nuts.
Pour this hot mixture over the raw spinach and toss to coat all the leaves, then add the crispy strips of parsnips.
Add additional salt and pepper if needed and serve immediately.
Serving Size 4 oz
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