I’m absolutely loving a few ingredients at the moment. You know how that happens? You just get obsessed with things for a bit. The first is feta cheese, something I’ve confessed my undying love for before. It’s so strange to think a year ago I didn’t like it, then slowly got more accustomed to it… Now I scatter it over practically every salad I make! But it’s not just amazing in salads. It has it’s place with spicy lamb burgers, Mexican eggs and tacos, as part of a meze, stuffed into borek or spanakopita… It’s just the stuff of my dreams. The second ingredient is soft dried figs. I first turned to these when in the dried fruit and nut aisle (one of my favourite supermarket sections) and hadn’t spotted or really known about them before. I ate pretty much the whole packet before I got home. Which you shouldn’t do, by the way – not good for your tum!
So I decided to try these two star ingredients in combo. After all, one is sticky and sweet and the other beautifully tangy and salty. Match made in heaven! Yes sir. I married them in an update of one of my favourite Ottolenghi salads and we just completely wolfed this. So delicious, with a great balance of fat, salt and sweet – plus interesting textures. That’s really all that great food has to have.
You will need:
2 shallots , finely sliced
4 soft dried figs, chopped
1 tbspn cider vinegar
2 whole meal pitta breads, roughly torn (stale is fine!)
Knob of butter
2 tbspns olive oil
75g whole almonds, roughly chopped
2 tspn sumac
2 tspn chilli flakes
160g baby leaf spinach
Juice of 1-1.5 lemons
Prepare the shallots and figs by mixing them together with the vinegar and a touch of salt. Toss and leave to marinate for 20 minutes while you prep the other ingredients.
Heat the butter and half the oil in a frying pan. Add the almonds and pitta bread and cook over a medium heat, stirring often, until golden and crunchy. Stir in the sumac and chilli and remove from the heat.
Toss the spinach with the lemon juice, a little salt, the feta and the remaining oil. Stir in the warm pitta and almonds and the marinated figs and shallots and toss together to mix. It’s good to do this when the pitta is still warm as it very gently starts to wilt the spinach. Serve immediately.