Spinach Salad with Curried Almonds

spinach-salad-with-curried-almonds

Seafood, greens, nuts and beans.  That’s been my mantra this week after listening to this Splendid Table podcast with nutritional psychiatrist Drew Ramsey and food writer David Leite about the link between the stomach and mental health. I’m looking forward to reading Dr. Ramsey’s new book, Eat Complete: The 21 Nutrients That Fuel Brainpower, Boost Weight Loss, and Transform Your Health. The book draws on the  Human Microbiome Project’s research on the link between gut health, allergies and mood. Interesting stuff and possibly a cure for all that ails me.

I went all in with an Indian-inspired dinner last night: pan-seared sadark chocolate candied orangeslmon rubbed with tumeric, coriander, ground ginger and garam masala, tumeric basmati rice, this lovely, fresh Spinach Salad with Curried Almonds, a glass of red wine and my newest guilty pleasure, dark chocolate candied orange slices. While the perfect little dessert treat, they are outrageously expensive.  I’m looking forward to experimenting with making my own.

Spinach Salad with Curried Almonds
Ingredients:
 
For the Curried Almonds:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup roasted unsalted almonds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  •  1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
For the Spinach Salad:
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons minced chutney
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 10 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups diced apple (unpeeled)
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil. Pour the butter on to the baking sheet, then add the almonds, then sprinkle with the curry powder, salt and sugar.  Toss to coat the almonds thoroughly, then spread them in a single layer.
  3. Bake the almonds for around 20 minutes, stirring about every 5.
  4. Cool the almonds completely, then scrape everything from the foil on to a cutting board and roughly chop.
  5. In a small bowl,  whisk together the apple cider vinegar and vegetable oil.  Whisk in the yogurt, chutney, sugar, curry powder and dry mustard.
  6. Add the spinach, apple, raisins,green onions and almonds to a large salad bowl.  Drizzle with the dressing and toss thoroughly to combine.
Yield: 6-8 side servings
Cook time: 20 minutes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Be sure to use good quality, fresh spices! The curry powder I used for the sweet and spicy almonds was my favorite Frontier Indian Curry spice blend — lots of flavor and not too fiery. For the dressing, I used Spicy Plum Chutney from The Virginia Chutney CompanyMajor Grey’s mango chutney would work fine here, but you may want to add a pinch of cayenne or some black pepper to balance the sweetness.

BON APPÉTIT!

Brunch for Two: Spinach Salad with Scallops, Mango, Avocado and Candied Macadamia Nuts

Brunch for Two: Spinach Salad with Scallops, Mango, Avocado and Candied Macadamia Nuts

scallop salad 1

Brunch is my new favorite way to entertain.  In the past I have hosted big, somewhat lavish brunches — tables full of friends and family, noshes to nibble with a Blood Mary or Brandy Milk Punch  before the main event, dessert and coffee afterwards, much fun but a lot of work.

My brstrawberriesunches these days are much more relaxed — one guest, fresh fruit and bubbly, a dish which can be mostly be made beforehand, more fruit and bubbly for dessert.

This Spinach Salad with Scallops, Mango, Avocado and Candied Macadamia Nut is perfect.  The nuts can be candied and the dressing blended the night before leaving you free to sip champagne and enjoy your guest until just before you are ready to serve.
Spinach Salad with Scallops, Mango, Avocado and Candied Macadamia Nuts

Ingredients:

For the Macadamia nuts:

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup whole Macadamia nuts
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Cooking spray

For the dressing :

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup sliced peeled mango
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

For the scallops and salad:

  • 2/3 pound sea scallops
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 2/3 cup diced avocado
  • 2/3 cup diced mango
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

Directions:

For the Macadamia nuts:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  3. Combine the sugar and tablespoon of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the macadamia nuts. Toss so that the nuts are thoroughly coated.
  4. Spread the nuts onto the baking sheet  and sprinkle with the salt.
  5. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes, stirring once.
  6. Spray a sheet of foil with cooking spray.
  7. Remove the nuts from the oven and immediately scrape them onto the sheet of foil. Spread  the nuts evenly on the foil.  When completely cooled, lightly chop the nuts and set them aside.

For the dressing:

  1. Combine  the the water with the mango, lime juice, olive oil, ginger, and cilantro in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Set dressing aside. Note that this will make more dressing than needed for two servings of salad.

For the scallops and salad:

  1. Dry the scallops gently but thoroughly between two layers of paper towels.
  2. Sprinkle the scallops with the salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the scallops and sear for about 2 minutes on each side. Be careful not to overcook!
  5. Arrange 2 cups spinach on each plate. Top the spinach with half the scallops, 1/3 cup mango, 1/3 cup avocado and 1/8 cup red onion.
  6. Drizzle each salad with 3 tablespoons of the dressing and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons chopped nuts.

Yield: 2 servings

Cook time: 12 minutes                                                                                  

Prep time: 30 minutes

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