Since rabbits continue to ignore the spinach on our allotment and there’s also a raised square bed full of spinach (3 different varieties) in our community garden, we harvest and eat spinach all the time. I have by now two super delicious spinach quiches in my repertoire to use the larger leaves. But it feels criminal to cook the crisp, bright green and cute baby spinach leaves and therefore we eat those in salad. Last year there was the spinach salad with citrus and feta, but this year I fell hard for an Ottolenghi recipe. (Wait – I’m having a deja-vu. A multiple deja-vu). I have not made an Ottolenghi recipe that would not turn out awesome. I trust him completely and when he says: spinach + pita + sumac + dates + almonds, I know they will be great together. The salad is everything: sweet and salty and sour – strong flavors perfectly balanced. The lemony sumac accentuates the freshness of the spinach.
Although I often make croutons from stale bread, I have not realized that you can also make them from pitas – a very good idea, especially since pita turns stale faster than any other bread. You can make the croutons any time you have leftover pita and them keep them in an airtight container for up to a week. Apart from salads, they’re also great scattered over soups.
One year ago: Asparagus frittata
Baby spinach salad with pita croutons, dates and almonds
From Jerusalem: A Cookbook(Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi)
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
100 g Medjool dates, quartered lengthways
30 g unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 small pita, about 100 g, roughly torn into approximately 4 cm pieces
75 g whole unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
2 tsp sumac
½ tsp chilli flakes
150 g baby spinach leaves
2 tbsp lemon juice
In a small bowl, mix the dates, onion and vinegar. Add a pinch of salt and mix well. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes, then drain any remaining vinegar and discard.
While the mix is marinating, heat the butter and half the oil in a medium frying pan. Add pita pieces and almonds and cook them for about 4 – 6 minutes, stirring all the time. When the pita is crunchy and golden, turn off the heat and mix in the sumac, chilli and a pinch of salt. Let cool.
Just before serving, toss the spinach leaves with the pita mix in a large bowl. Add the marinated dates and onion, remaining olive oil, lemon juice and more salt to taste. Serve immediately.