Mashed Potatoes With Bacon

Makes 4 servings as a side dish, 2 as an entree

4 to 6 thick slices smoked bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces (4 to 6
ounces uncooked)
2 pounds Idaho or baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices
6 ounces baby spinach
2 tablespoons 1 percent milk, warmed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup grated Fontina cheese (3 1/2 to 4 ounces)
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

In a medium, heavy skillet, cook the bacon pieces over low to medium-low heat, turning as needed to achieve uniform crispness. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel to drain. In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold, salted water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

Drain the potatoes for 1 to 2 minutes, letting the steam rise and the potatoes dry out.

Meanwhile, remove the stems from the spinach, rinse and lightly shake. Put the spinach in a steamer over boiling water, or put it in a heavy pan, cover and cook over medium heat, shaking the pan several times, until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain well. Cool slightly and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Set aside.

Put the potatoes through a ricer or food mill into a large bowl or the saucepan. Add the milk and butter and stir until smooth. Add the cheese, spinach and bacon and stir until the cheese melts. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.