Monday, 30 November 2009

'FAVOURITE SALAD'

A select few, who are regulars at my dinner table (you know who you are), know this salad very well. It has earned the nickname "favourite salad" because that's just what it is! It comes from the first Moro cookbook.

Spinach and Feta Salad with sumac dressing
Sumac is a tree with red berries. The dried berries are ground to produce a dark purple spice with a sharp, citrussy flavour. It is one of my favourite ingredients, and is used a lot in Turkish cooking (a friend who has a holiday apartment in Turkey brought me a huge bag of Sumac last summer; it should keep me going until her next visit!).

Half a bag of baby spinach leaves
Half a block of feta cheese
1 garlic clove ground to a paste with salt in a pestle & mortar
Extra virgin olive oil
Good quality red wine vinegar
Toasted pine nuts
About a tsp of Sumac

Make the dressing first. Pound the garlic to a paste with a generous pinch of Maldon sea salt. Add about a tbsp of olive oil and then the red wine vinegar and keep stirring until the dressing begins to emulsify. Check for balance of flavours and add some more vinegar if necessary. The dressing should be piquant but not overpoweringly vinegary. Then add the sumac. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts (Demon Cook's tip: NEVER turn your back on the hob when toasting pinenuts! They have a habit of suddenly burning without warning!).

Assemble the salad by crumbling feta over the spinach, scatter with pine nuts, and pour over the dressing. You can also add toasted pitta bread or flatbread, but I always forget this, and anyway, the salad is delicious as it is.....

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