Spinach Salad a la Grecque
Source: Joyce Goldstein, cookbook author
The classic spinach salad that American diners love, is really Greek inspired. The tang of the feta cheese and the richness of the Kalamata olives are essential for flavor balance. Adding the beets and beans makes this more substantial, almost a meal in a bowl. While you could dress this salad with a Greek inspired oregano garlic vinaigrette, the mint is lighter, and more tart and refreshing. Spinach is the ideal green for this salad, (especially if you can find small tender leaves) as it is only mildly bitter. However, you could use assorted lettuces or the more neutral romaine.
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
1¼ cups mild olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup fresh mint, chopped tightly packed
1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon salt
2 red onions, small, sliced thin
12 cups baby spinach (or assorted lettuces,) well washed and dried
6 large beets, cooked (or 12 small beets)
2 cups cooked white beans (optional)
¾ lb feta cheese, crumbled coarsely
1 cup kalamata olives
- For the infusion, combine lemon juice and chopped mint in a small saucepan. Bring up to a boil and remove from heat. Let steep for about 10 minutes. Strain into a mixing bowl. There will be about ¼ cup. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together.
- Marinate the onions in ¼ cup of the mint vinaigrette for about 15 minutes to soften them and lessen their bite. Place in salad bowl. If using beans, toss them in ½ cup of vinaigrette to marinate for about a half hour. If the spinach leaves are large, remove all stems and tear the leaves into smaller pieces. Cut the large beets in half and then into ¼ inch slices. If the beets are small, cut them into quarters or eighths. In a large salad bowl, toss the marinated onions, greens, beets (and beans if using) with the remaining vinaigrette. Distribute on 6 large salad plates and sprinkle with feta and olives.