1. Preheat the oven to 450° F.
2. Put the mushrooms in a mixing bowl, drizzle with oil, toss to coat. Add the vinegar, season the mushrooms with kosher salt and pepper, and toss to coat evenly.
3. Spread the mushrooms out in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, constantly turning to prevent from burning until they turn dark brown and shrink.
4. To smoke the mushrooms: open the windows and remove the battery from your smoke detector. Line a large pot that has a steamer insert with aluminum foil (this will keep the wood chips from scorching the bottom). Spread the wet wood chips out on the foil. Cover the pot tightly with the lid and heat over high heat.
5. Meanwhile, put the mushrooms in the steamer basket. When the chips begin to smoke, drop the steamer basket insert into the pot and cover tightly with the lid. Turn off the heat and allow the mushrooms to soak up the smoke for 5 to 6 minutes—no peeking. Set the mushrooms aside to cool.
6. Toss the cooled mushrooms with the maple syrup. (The mushrooms can be prepared a couple of hours in advance, covered, and held at room temperature.)
1. Slice the shallots as thinly as possible.
2. Separate into rings.
3. Coat the shallots with hot sauce, salt, and pepper.
4. Sprinkle on the cornstarch and toss the shallots to coat them evenly.
5. Pour 1/2 inch of oil into a large sauté pan or cast-iron skillet set over medium heat.
6. When oil is hot, cook shallots in batches and fry until golden brown.
7. Season with salt and pepper.
8. Set to the side.
Black Garlic Vinaigrette:
1. Combine vinegar, parsley, black garlic, thyme, shallot, agave, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes into a bowl of a food processor and process for a few seconds until the garlic is fully incorporated with the rest of the ingredients.
2. Slowly pour in the oil in a steady stream with the motor running.
3. When ready to serve, warm the vinaigrette over low heat.
1. Combine the spinach, mushrooms, and warm vinaigrette in a mixing bowl. Season with flaked sea salt and pepper, and toss to coat spinach evenly. Top with the almond ricotta and crispy shallots and serve immediately.