I made this salad as part of a big dinner party spread on New Years Day (which also included my Asian Butterbean Salad), and it is something of a mash up from two spinach salad recipes I read while I was planning the menu: one from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's (who I think gets forgotten far too much!) cult book Jerusalem, and another book featuring Jewish cookery that holds cult status in the foodie world; The Book Of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden which is the book you need to read if you want to learn about Jewish cuisine. This recipe makes one big bowl, and while the different element can be made ahead (I did), it needs to be assembled just before you serve it, so the dressing won't make the pitta croutons soggy.
- 1 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
- 1/2 Red Onion, very thinly sliced
- 30g (1oz) Unsalted Butter
- 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Small or 1 Large Wholemeal Pitta Bread, torn into small-ish pieces
- 50g (2oz) Walnut Halves
- 25g (1oz) Walnut Pieces
- 2 tsp Sumac
- 1/2 tsp Dried Chilli (Red Pepper) Flakes
- 150g (5.5oz) Baby Spinach Leaves
- 2 tbsp Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice (Roughly 1/2 a lemon)
- Seeds of 1/2 Pomegranate
- Sea Salt (I use French Breton Fleur de Sel)
Heat the butter and half of the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the torn pitta and the walnuts. Fry over a medium to high heat for about five to six minutes until the pitta pieces are golden brown at the edges and crunchy, and the walnuts are toasted but not burnt. Remove from the heat, and toss through 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt, chilli flakes and the sumac. Set aside to cool. Place the onion slices in a small bowl with the vinegar and another 1/4 teaspoon of salt and set aside for 20 minutes. Drain away the excess vinegar, and set aside.
When you are ready to serve, mix together the remaining tablespoon of olive oil the lemon juice and and a large pinch of the salt in the bottom of a large serving bowl. Toss through the spinach so all of the leaves are well coated then add the onions, pitta and nut mix, and most of the pomegranate seeds, setting aside a small handful. Toss everything together again and sprinkle the remaining pomegranate seeds across the top of the salad. Serve immediately.
I know at first glance this salad may seem a little Summery, but the pomegranate and the walnuts give it a lovely Wintery edge, and I think the jewel like nature of the pomegranate seeds bring a little brightness into what is usually the dreariest month of the year. Serve alongside some kind of protein such as my Moroccan Chicken Goujons with Yogurt and Mint Dip.