So, I have Tinder. And I’ve been using it. But, that is a story for another post or even another (anonymous?) blog. My mum is my number one reader here (hi, ma!).
Anyway, the other night I was out for dinner and my date (a very nice guy, in case you’re reading! Edit! I’ve been told by a guy friend that calling a date a “very nice guy” is “brutal” and if I want a second date I should at least say he was charming. So, you were nice AND charming…) who had found my blog before he met me, asked me what my favourite food to make was. And what did I say? Salad. …I then proceeded to rhapsodise about the different kinds of salads I liked to make, about my current favourite with warm potatoes and arugula and black olive tapenade (seriously, that will be another post), before deciding that I should probably stop gushing about vegetables.
Truth be told, I’ve never really considered what my favourite kitchen creations are. A cuter answer probably would have been the pretty things that I like to bake, or some sexy chocolate dessert. But what came out of my mouth that night was an enthusiastic “Hmm…salad!”—at least I sound healthy?
In any case, I actually do love throwing salads together, so maybe my initial response was honest.
Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s cookbook Jerusalem has been one of the most used in our house since we got it. The “vegetables” section is colourful and exciting– this is one of my favourites from the book.
Despite there being absolutely no meat in it, I swear I can taste bacon.
Baby spinach salad with dates & almonds (Serves 4) from Jerusalem
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
3 ½ oz/100g pitted Medjool dates, quartered lengthwise
2 tbsp/30 g unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 small pitas, about 3 ½ oz/100 g, roughly torn in to 1 ½-inch/4cm pieces
½ cup/75g whole unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped
2 tsp sumac
½ tsp chile flakes
5 oz/150 g baby spinach leaves
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Put the 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.
Meanwhile, heat the butter and half the olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the pita and almonds and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring all the time, until the pita is crunchy and golden brown. Remove from the heat and mix in the sumac, chile flakes, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Set aside to cool.
When you are ready to serve, toss the spinach leaves with the pita mix in a large mixing bowl. Add the dates and red onion, the remaining olive oil, the lemon juice, and another pinch of salt. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.