baby spinach salad with pita, figs, cherries + almonds

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Believe me when I say that this is the sort of salad you’re going to eat with your hands. After a few servings, I confess that I dove straight in, wrapped kale and spinach leaves around the seasoned, buttery pita and it was GLORIOUS. Who knew that salad could be this addictive? Have this much flavor? Welcome to Yotam Ottolenghi’s + Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem, a remarkable tome that is not only a visual feast for the senses, but a heartfelt letter to their homeland. Within this cookbook you’ll not only be amazed by the diversity of the cuisine and its layered influences, you’ll fawn over the exquisite photography and recipes YOU SIMPLY HAVE TO MAKE. Thumbing through the book I encountered their baby spinach salad and knew I just had to put my leaves to use. While I’ve taken some liberties with the ingredients (I consider dates an “exquisite”, an ingredient I don’t typically use, so I nixed it from the recipe and replaced it with dried figs and cherries), I assure you this flavor is full-on. This is a terrific side dish to the kibbeh I made yesterday, or add a bit of protein to make it a main.

INGREDIENTS: Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s + Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem.
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 1/2 oz/100g mixed dried tart cherries + sliced figs
2 tbsp/30g unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 small pitas, roughly torn into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup/75g whole unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped
2 tsp sumac
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
5 ounces/150g baby spinach leaves/tuscan kale mix
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt + pepper

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

Meanwhile, heat the butter and half of the olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the pita and almonds and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring all of the time, until the pita is crunchy and golden brown. Remove from the heat and mix in the sumac, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside to cool.

When you are ready to serve, toss the spinach and kale leaves with the pita mix in a large mixing bowl. Add the figs, cherries and red onion, the remaining olive oil, the lemon juice, and another pinch of salt. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.

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6 thoughts on “baby spinach salad with pita, figs, cherries + almonds

    1. Jaime – It’s awesome! I often don’t like the too-crunch feel of croutons, which are always over-salted and too tough of a juxtaposition to the leaves. I dig the pita because while there is some crunch, there is a chewy softness to the bread that marries perfectly with the spinach. Warmly, f.

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