Guys, this salad is bonkers. It's the perfect combination of ingredients - sweetness from dates, toasty almonds, the beauty of stale pita sauteed in oil and butter. It is jam packed with flavor. It's from the book Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. I found it as a Christmas present for Donovan but as is the case with all early Christmas purchases in this household, I felt compelled to say "hey, do you want to see this awesome book I found for you for Christmas? I mean it's kinda for Christmas....but it doesn't have to be. YEAH? You want to see it? OKAY." And I've been so busy flipping through it, Donovan hasn't had a chance to open it yet. Whoops.
But he will have a chance to eat this salad. And he'll call it a win, I just know it.
So let's get on to making this salad. You won't regret it. First you just slice up some red onion. Thin as you can. Quarter some dates. Toss them in a bowl with a bit of white wine vinegar, mash it all together with your hands and let it all marinate a while.
While that's sitting, toss some butter and olive oil in a pan. After the butter melts, throw in the torn up pita bread and almonds and saute until the pita turns golden brown and delicious. When it's done, take it off the heat and add sumac and chili flakes. Sumac is a spice used in a lot of Middle Eastern cooking. It's kind of lemony and totally delicious. I've made this salad without the sumac and it doesn't have the same wow factor. Search it out. If your grocer doesn't have it, try an international or middle eastern market. If not, you can definitely find it online.
Let the pita mixture cool and then toss it on top of some baby spinach with the onion mixture. I threw some French feta on top and ate the entire salad while sitting here writing this post. I won't mind repeating for dinner.
Baby Spinach Salad with Dates and Almonds
adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
- 1 tablespoon wine vinegar
- 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 3 1/2 ounces dates (100 grams), preferably Medjool, pitted and quartered lengthwise
- 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
- 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
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. Drain the vinegar and set aside.
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. Remove from heat and mix in sumac, chile flakes and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside to cool.
When ready to serve, toss spinach leaves with pita mix in a large mixing bowl. Add dates and red onion, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, the lemon juice and another pinch of salt. Taste for seasoning and serve.
Hope you enjoy! What's your favorite way to use leftover pita bread? This is mine (along with pita pizzas).