Friday 26 July 2013

Spinach salad with Dates & Almonds

 Ottolenghi is currently one of my favourite chefs. I have eaten at his restaurant/deli outlets several times and gone back multiple times just for the cakes and patisserie available. His recent programme Ottolenghi's Mediterranean Feast was a superb tour of that region and his books are stunning with many recipes pairing ingredients together that you wouldn't normally consider as well as showing new ways with old ones. His Plenty book would happily send me vegetarian if I didn't like meat so much.

So I was very happy to get his latest book (co-authored with Sami Tamimi) Jerusalem to cook from for Dom's Random Recipe Challenge this month. The challenge was a lot more simple than usual, instead of us randomly picking the book it had to be the 30th book and the 30th page to celebrate the 30th random recipe challenge, how time files.

The recipe on page 30-31 was a salad.

Now the word salad is a word that comes with negative connotations regarding dieting or dire offerings with a tired old iceberg and a dull tomato. In the world of Ottolenghi however, the salad is a glorious feast for the senses and this one is no different...
Sweet, slightly sticky dates, offset with sour lemon and sumac. crisp fried pittas, crunchy almonds and soft spinach leaves with just the slightest hint of chilli heat all combine together in a superb salad that can be happily eaten as an entire meal instead of being relegated to a side dish. Simple but brilliant.

Spinach salad with Dates & Almonds
1tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
100g pitted medjool dates, quartered lengthwaqys
30g butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 small pittas, ripped to small pieces
 75g whole almonds, roughly chopped
2 tsp sumac
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
150g baby spinach leaves
2 tbsp lemon juice

Add the dates and onion to a bowl with the white wine, mix and leave to marinate for 20 minutes, drain any remaining vinegar off and discard.
Heat half the oil with the butter in a frying pan and cook the almonds and pitta over a medium heat for 5 minutes until golden and crispy. remove from the heat and sprinkle over the chilli flakes, sumac and a pinch of salt. Set aside to cool.
Toss the spinach leaves with the pitta mix, add the dates and onion, remaining olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
Serve immediately.


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  1. gorgeous!.. I love Ottolenghi too, he's such an inspiration isn't he? So glad you got to pick this brilliant book and glad that you turned the humble salad on it's head... and a beauty it is too... thanks for taking part once again x

  2. Mmmm. That looks gorgeous. I'd love to try his restaurant food but we are rarely down that end of the country and, if we are, there are so many places we want to try!

  3. I love Ottolenghi recipes - so tasty and unusual, but they always work perfectly and taste fantastic.