Spinach & Pear Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing
½ red onion, sliced (1/4-inch thick)
4 slices of bacon
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup red wine
¼ cup Marsala wine
1 cup water
½ cup brown sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 level tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons cold water
Cook the bacon in a sauce pot over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until lightly browned. Add the onions and sauté with the bacon for another three minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, except the slurry, and simmer over medium heat until reduced by half.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, then prepare the cold slurry mixture. Add the slurry to the simmering dressing; the mixture should thicken immediately. Remove from heat.
Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium-sized bowl and use the back of a ladle to gently press the mixture through until all the liquid has been extracted. Discard all bacon and onion bits left in the strainer. Serve immediately or store for later use.
To store: Place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to one week. Re-heat just before serving.
1 bag fresh spinach leaves
1 cup bleu cheese, crumbled
3 Bartlett pears, thinly sliced length-wise with peel on, no more than ¼-inch thick
1 cup whole pecans
Toss all ingredients together. Serve on individual plates and drizzle with warm bacon dressing, or pass in a large salad bowl with dressing on the side.