With all the heavy winter dishes this season, sometimes you need a little bit of a break. This spinach salad is the perfect solution. The maple glazed walnuts and the warm bacon vinaigrette make this a special salad, perfect for company or just an evening in from the bitter cold outside.
1. Make the glazed walnuts by placing the walnuts, maple syrup, salt and cinnamon in a large skillet and cooking over medium high heat until the maple syrup has reduced and nuts are coated and sticky, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour the walnuts onto a baking sheet and spread apart (careful, it’s hot!) into a single layer. Let cool.
2. Make the vinaigrette by cooking the bacon in a medium sized Anolon® Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel skillet until crisp and the fat has rendered. Remove the bacon from the pan to a plate lined with paper towels. Leave the fat in the pan and add the olive oil, shallots, garlic and brown sugar to the pan and cook for 1 minutes over low heat, stirring frequently. Pour into a measuring cup or small bowl and stir in the balsamic vinegar. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Assemble the salad by placing the spinach greens, pear slices, dried cranberries in the Anolon® salad bowl. Sprinkle the glazed walnuts on top and the crisp bacon. Drizzle and toss with the warm vinaigrette and serve immediately.