Friday, August 17, 2012

Spinach and goat cheese salad with hazelnut olive oil

Yesterday you heard all about my epic 5-course meal. Today I begin the process writing about each course, 1 blog entry at a time.

So this was the salad I decided to start off the meal with. Why?

  1. It's delicious
  2. I've made it at least once before but never blogged about it
  3. It's simple
  4. It's delicious
  5. I'd made it before so it was less of a "risk" compared to some of the other dishes I was attempting 
  6. It has only 7 ingredients (9 if you include salt and pepper)
  7. Did I mention it's delicious?
In fact, this salad is so good I ate my entire plate before I remembered to take a picture for the blog! Luckily there was some left over in the serving bowl (our 5th guest was arriving late, so we saved him some) so I was able to snap a quick photo.  

The hot oil gets the spinach a little wilty and soft in spots. So good!

Is this a really crazy, unique salad with 20 ingredients you've never heard of? No. It's a simple spinach salad with creamy cheese and crunchy nuts and slight sweetness that work together in a comforting yet magical way. It's a salad that holds its own next to a humble roast chicken or a pretty impressive (if I say so myself) multi-course meal. It's a salad that works in the heat of the summer and the chill of the winter. Year round simplicity. Jackie like.

So go, make it. You won't regret it.

Yours in stealing her friend Liz's recipe and sharing it with the world (and by world I mean the handful of friends that read this blog),

Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad with Hazelnut Oil, from my friend Liz

If preparing this salad in advance toss together all the "dry" ingredients in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Store in the fridge. Make the salad dressing oil, add the vinegar, and put in a glass jar. (You only need to refrigerate the dressing if you're not using it the same day.) When your guests arrive, all you have to do is throw your glass jar in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds to warm up the dressing, then pour all over your spinach. Give it a quick toss and you're ready to serve. Easy peasy!

Serves 4-6 as a side salad

1 6 oz bag baby spinach leaves
2 TBSP raisins or craisins
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

3 TBSP olive oil
1/2 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts (I like to put mine in a plastic bag and use the flat end of a meat mallet, or heavy bottomed pan, to break them into big chunks)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
Salt 'n peppah

1. Combine spinach, raisins, and goat cheese in a large bowl.
2. Heat oil on low heat in small saucepan or fry pan. Add hazelnuts and cook, stirring often, 5 to 8 minutes.
3. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Toss in salt and pepper.
4. Pour warm oil over spinach, add balsamic vinegar, and toss to combine. Serve immediately.


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