Salad Week: Spinach Salad with Honey-Garlic Dressing, Feta & Pine Nuts

 

I’m loving the recipes from Gjelina, and next time I visit California I plan to make a visit to the actual restaurant. The oil from the garlic confit makes these croutons the best ones I’ve ever made at home. You can of course use plain extra-virgin olive oil, but I encourage you to make the garlic confit as it tastes like something from a garlic-lover’s dream and is delicious in so many recipes.

slightly adapted from: Gjelina
serves: 4-6

garlic croutons
12 slices of day old ciabatta or baguette
1/4 cup oil from garlic confit (see recipe below) or plain extra-virgin olive oil

honey-garlic dressing

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 fresh garlic cloves, minced
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon honey
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch spinach
1/4 cup pitted buttery green olives, like Castelvetrano
1/4 cup pitted black olives, like Gaeta or Nicoise
2 ounces French or Greek feta, crumbled
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (I used slivered almonds)
3 ounces sweet cherry tomatoes, halved
kosher salt + freshly ground pepper

to make croutons

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet and brush both sides with the oil. Bake until crisp all the way through, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.

to make the dressing

In a bowl combine the vinegar and lemon juice. Stir in the garlic and shallot, and let stand for several minutes. Whisk in the honey first, then the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. There should be a noticeable sweetness from the honey that balances the acidity of the vinegar and lemon. Keep in a warm spot until ready to use.

In a large bowl, or on individual plates, combine the spinach, green and black olives, feta cheese, pine nuts, and croutons. Drizzle dressing on top and toss gently. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately.

Garlic Confit

garlic1

These slow-cooked garlic cloves taste similar to oven roasted garlic (the kind you bake in a foil pouch), but the best part about this recipe is you can use the cloves and the garlic-scented oil. I like to use the oil as a base for white pizzas or for making homemade croutons.

slightly adapted from: Gjelina
makes: 2 cups

2 cups extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
4 heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled
6-12 fresh thyme sprigs
1 or 2 bay leaves, bruised

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small to medium baking dish, combine the olive oil, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves. The garlic should be completely covered by the oil. Bake until the garlic cloves become fragrant, and lightly browned but still hold their shape, 45-60 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 months, completely covered with olive oil to prevent air from reaching them.

*note: the olive oil will harden in the fridge, so when using in recipes, gently heat the portion you need in the microwave or on the stovetop.

garlic

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