As promised last week, here’s the remedy for the stomachache inevitably following an overdose of sugar. To make the decline from a sugar rush to some sort of normal state a slow and steady one, rather than going cold turkey, I’ve given one of my favorite veggies a very-berry twist.
I simply love spinach. Always have – from what I’ve been told, even as a small child. I guess I was a strange kid in that area, happily munching on stuff kids usually hate. My weird affinity for stuff like spinach and beetroots has always been a reason for my mother to question our blood relation, no offspring of hers could possibly like those vile things! Oh well. Every family needs a black sheep, I’m fine with that. Seeing the Spinach Salad on the Tyrian menu instantly made me jump up and get ready to go shopping for something along the lines of marinated sheepsmilk feta, lamb koftas, spiced yoghurt, lots of garlic, the works… and then I froze. That’s just… predictable, yummy, straight forward – but today I wanted something special, outside the box. I decided to take a stroll around the market and see what else I could pair up the bag of lovely baby spinach leaves, already waiting in my fridge, with. With the strawberry season in its last stages, the „unpredictable“ ingredient was found pretty quickly. A wonderful hand-made soft goat’s cheese and a handful of toasted pine nuts sealed the deal on this combination shortly after that. So, this Tyrian recipe~
…inspired me to come up with this~
Now, usually I would say something like „this recipe serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main“, but in this case I wouldn’t recommend eating this one as a stand-alone main dish. The dressing, at least if you lucked out in the strawberry department – is intense. Add some really ripe, whole strawberries and soft cheese and you’ll probably grow tired of all the softness and strawberryness after half a bowl. You can make it work as a side dish or base-dish for a meaty topping though, just make sure you have a different consistency and a really hearty or spicy component to counteract the soft-and-sweet. Crispy garlic & herbs bread or spicy meatballs for example.
Strawberry & Spinach Salad
500g Strawberries, cleaned and quartered
300g Baby Spinach leaves, stems removed
2-3 Tbsp Pine Nuts, toasted
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Lemon, Juice – set one tbsp of it aside
1 Tsp Honey
1 small Shallot, roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
200g low fat Firm Goat’s Cream Cheese or Sheepsmilk Feta, crumbled or cut into bite-sized pieces
1) Place 100g of the strawberries, oil, shallot, honey, mustard, lemon juice and a generous pinch of salt in a blender or a high-rimmed stick-blender friendly container and blitz the lot into a smooth puree.
2) Have a taste and adjust the seasoning with honey, salt and more lemon juice. Cover the bowl/jug/container and place it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
3) Pop the rest of the strawberries in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle them with a pinch each of sugar, salt and black pepper and drizzle them with the remaining lemon juice. Cover them with clingfilm and place the bowl in the fridge for about an hour to marinate.
4) In the meantime roast the pine nuts in a small pan on low heat. Always keep an eye on them, pine nuts are as evil as they are tasty. Absolutely nothing seems to be happening in your pan for what seems like eons, and as soon as you turn around or blink, they burn into bits of charcoal as if they were just waiting for you to turn away…
5) Once you’re ready to serve, divide the spinach leaves and the marinated strawberries onto your plates.
6) Have another taste of the strawberry dressing after giving it a gentle stir – it will have developed a bit more towards the very-berry side of things. If it turned out too sweet, stir some of the lemon-berry marinade into it.
7) Adjust the seasoning if necessary and evenly distribute the dressing onto your leafy plates.
8) Dot the portions with the cheese crumbles or cubes and sprinkle the portions with the nuts just before serving… which I evidently forgot until after the pics were taken and the first forkfuls of salad had been eaten… sorry about that~!