Baby Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds


It is time to use two of the ingredients I brought back from Israel:  Dates and Almonds.

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I have been eating both with my breakfast – greek yogurt with almonds and fresh fruit, with a date and a fig on the side.  But here was my opportunity to make them the stars at dinner-time… Yotam Ottolenghi’s spinach salad with dates and almonds from his Jerusalem cookbook. Pretty fitting given the origin of my dates and almonds.

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The other star of this salad is sumac.  My husband brought sumac into my life with Persian cooking, now it is one of my favorite flavors.  I just wish I could capture the deep red of the spice better.

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Pita is used to make the croutons for the salad.  I did not have any pita in the house, so I used flatbread.  The flatbread worked fairly well, so I would use either in the future.

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For the crouton mixture, the flatbread and almonds are toasted in butter and olive oil, then seasoned with sumac, chili flakes and salt – this was out of this world!

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Add to this, fresh baby spinach and the dates, which were marinated in vinegar with red onion and the resulting salad is phenomenal! I can say this since Ottolenghi came up with it, not me; but really, it is utterly delicious!  If you can get some good Medjool dates and almonds – do this, you won’t be sorry.

Baby Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds

from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem Cookbook

1 tablespoon wine vinegar
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
3 1/2 ounces dates (100 grams), preferably Medjool, pitted and quartered lengthwise
Salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (30 grams)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 small pitas (about 3 1/2 ounces, or 100 grams), roughly torn into 1 1/2 -inch pieces (I used 2 flatbreads)
1/2 cup whole unsalted almonds (75 grams), coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons sumac
1/2 teaspoon chile flakes
5 to 6 ounces baby spinach leaves (150 grams)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions

Put vinegar, onion and dates in a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt and mix well with your hands. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes, then drain any residual vinegar and discard.

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Meanwhile, heat butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add pita and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring all the time, until pita is golden. Add almonds and continue cooking until pita is crunchy and browned and almonds are toasted and fragrant, about 2 minutes more.

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Remove from heat and mix in sumac, chile flakes and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside to cool.

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When ready to serve, toss spinach leaves with pita mix in a large mixing bowl.

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Add dates and red onion, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, the lemon juice and another pinch of salt. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

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Serves 4 to 6 .
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One Comment Add yours

  1. adanelz6 says:

    My mom loves dates in her salads – so interesting!

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