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Spinach salad with honey-garlic dressing, feta and pine nuts

I love visiting farmer's markets in California because of the variety of produce. The fanatical farmers grow fresh vegetables and regrown heirloom varieties of fruit, beans, tomatoes, and other vegetables. The produce is fresh, picked that morning, bright in colour, and delicious.

Bloomsdale spinach is one such varietal. It is deep green and very popular with home gardens, as it is heat resistant and grows well into late autumn. This salad calls for this spinach, but you can substitute any baby variety.

The salad is about freshness. Earthy spinach, sweet tomatoes, salty feta, and olives come together beautifully. The dressing is mild and lovely. This is a salad built for hot weather: light, fresh, and so healthy.

Some cookbooks make me happy when I cook from them. The flavours and dishes are unique. I waited a long time before buying this book and regretted that decision. This is a beautiful book; the recipes are unique in how this genius chef combines flavours and dishes. All the recipes pop with flavours, beautifully laid out dishes, and excellent food. This restaurant is on my bucket list the next time I visit Venice, California.

For more delicious recipes from this cookbook, click here.


For the ciabatta croutons:

4 slices of day-old ciabatta bread

olive oil

For the honey-garlic dressing:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Juice of 1/2 lemon/lime

3 garlic cloves, minced

11/2 tablespoons honey

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt, to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper

For the salad:

1 bag of baby spinach

1/4 cup black or green olives

3 oz. feta cheese

3 oz cherry tomatoes, halved longitudinally

5 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted

Mix all the ingredients for the dressing and set aside. Taste for sweetness and tartness. The dressing should pop with flavour.

To make the croutons, heat the oven to 250° F. Gently Toss the bread in the olive oil. Lay it out in a single layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning the croutons over once until they are crisp and toasted. Cool completely and store in an airtight container until needed.

To serve the salad, arrange the baby spinach in individual bowls. Scatter some tomatoes around. Add a generous slice of feta, or crumble it all over. Scatter the pine nuts and add a few pieces of croutons. Drizzle some of the dressing on the salad. Serve immdeiately with extra dressing on the side.

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