Spinach Salad

by Daisy

5 oz. fresh baby spinach
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms, I used “baby bellas”
1/2 cup pecan halves
4-6 cloves garlic, sliced
2 cups sliced, cooked chicken breast
1 large apple, chopped, I used Fuji
optional, crumbled feta or chevre cheese, about 4 oz.

Rinse and dry the spinach (a salad spinner does the trick for me). Set aside.
In a medium skillet or saute pan, heat 2 tsp. oil. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and pecans and saute, stirring frequently, until the garlic has begun to brown, the mushrooms to wilt, and the pecans to toast. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Allow to cool briefly and combine with the spinach, chicken, and apples. Add cheese if you are using it. Drizzle with a portion of the dressing (the dressing recipe makes more than I need for this salad alone–keep the rest for your next salad). Toss and serve immediately.

For the dressing:
1 garlic clove, crushed with 1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. brown mustard
1/4 tsp. crushed black pepper
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
3/4 c. olive oil/olive oil blend

Blend and mash the garlic, salt, mustard, pepper, and rosemary with the back of a spoon in a small bowl to release their flavors.
Add 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar and blend.
Slowly wisk in 3/4 cup olive oil or olive oil blend. Taste and adjust the tang of the dressing to your preferences, wisking in a little more oil if you like it milder.
Correct salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4 salad courses or 2 entree -size portions. You probably want to omit the chicken for first courses.

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