You often tell me how much you love the stories and little asides that I add to my recipe posts and cookbooks. It occurred to me though that I am feeling rather anxious about having abandoned you during my elongated absence from creating recipes. To ease my anxiety I am going to focus on simply getting a bunch of recipes to you, and that means I’ll forego much of the writing until I feel like I have redeemed myself. Besides which, you learned more about me in 2014 than you might ever have wanted to know. Let’s just say I think I front-loaded all the writing this year.
That said, let’s get back to the cooking!
No Friday Night Dinner – or *SANE meal any day of the week – would be complete without a bunch of veggies heaped on the plate. While I was mulling over what veggies to dish up with the Baked BBQ Chicken the other week, I decided to do a salad for speed, but I wanted it to feel warm and comforting, not cold and fresh. A winter salad, if you will. Spinach immediately popped into my mind, probably because it’s not a crispy, crunchy green. It’s softer and floppier and feels warmer, even when it’s raw. I also wanted something that wouldn’t compete with the SANE BBQ Sauce smothering the chicken. With warm, mellow-flavored leaves as a starting point I pondered which foods evoke thoughts of colder months: pears, dried apricots, walnuts; and before I knew it I had a salad on my hands.
I whisked up a super simple dressing, added scallions (green onions) for a touch of ‘bite’, and finished it off with some goat cheese. Food doesn’t have to be complicated to be delicious. A good recipe and fresh, real-food ingredients and you’re there.
Wildman is a big fan of spinach salads, and this one was a winner for him. He loved the soft, sweet pear pieces and the mild, creamy goat cheese, with a light dressing that was there but didn’t overpower any of the other flavors.
- I find the easiest and fastest way to chop dried apricots is to use kitchen scissors.
- Leave the goat cheese in the fridge until the last minute as it can get very soft to handle at room temperature
- 1 large, firm, unblemished pear, cored and cut into chunks
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
- 2 oz. / 55g walnuts, roughly chopped
- 6 large scallions (green onions), thinly sliced
- 6 oz. / 170g dried apricots, roughly chopped
- 4 TBSP olive oil
- 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tsp. xylitol
- 8 oz. / 225g spinach leaves
- 4 oz. / 110g goat cheese, cut into small pieces
- Place the pear pieces in a small bowl with the lemon juice and toss to coat thoroughly.
- In another bowl put the walnuts, scallions, dried apricots, and the pear pieces (without any of the extra lemon juice) and mix them together well.
- In another small bowl whisk the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and xylitol together well.
- Place the spinach leaves in a large serving bowl, add the fruit mixture and toss.
- Pour the dressing evenly over the salad.
- Add the goat cheese and gently toss the whole salad a few times.