This week, at I Heart Cooking Clubs, we're getting cheesy - cooking up Nigel Slater dishes that feature cheese as an ingredient.
After last week's Gnocchi with Chorizo, Gorgonzola & Spinach, which really knocked it out of the ball-park for full-on creamy, cheesy indulgence, I thought I would bring you something a little lighter this week. Nigel's spinach, orange and feta salad from "Tender, Vol. I, A cook and his vegetable patch" seemed to fit the bill perfectly.
Of this dish, Nigel says, "A favourite salad of mine is one where the spinach leaves are matched with oranges and feta. Lush, salty, refreshing, I use it to lift the spirits." And he's right. It is all of those things, and the "sunny" burst of tangy orange slices amongst the velvety spinach leaves, spiked with sharp, salty goats' feta, cannot fail to be uplifting on a gloomy late autumn day.
This salad of course would make a great side to just about anything you can think of, but it can just as easily make a meal on its own. You can easily "trick it up" with a few add-ins to make it a little more substantial if you like. Nigel suggests toasting some torn up bread or a few sprouted seeds as possible additions. Since I happened to have some beautiful fresh beetroot from a friend's garden on hand, I chose to add some roasted beetroot along with some toasted walnuts. Satsuma mandarins are also available here in abundance right now, so I included some mandarin segments as well. Some black olives would also be a nice addition I think, and you could of course swap the goat cheese for some other cheese such as a gorgonzola or other blue cheese.
This recipe is more of a guideline than anything too specific. It is infinitely variable, and you really don't need to be too fussy with quantities. I do hope you try it. This is really perfect for a simple lunch, and I will definitely be making it again.
Spinach, Orange & Goat Cheese Salad Recipe
Adapted from recipe by Nigel Slater
from Tender, Vol. I
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
For each person you will need:
1x medium-sized beetroot
flaky sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
2x generous handfuls of baby spinach leaves
1x medium-sized orange
1x handful of crumbled goat cheese
1x handful walnuts, toasted
red wine vinegar
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C (390 degrees F).
Wash and dry beetroot, and cut into wedges. Place beetroot wedges on a large piece of tinfoil, drizzle liberally with olive oil, season with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Close up tinfoil, place package in a shallow baking dish, and roast in the preheated oven for approximately 45 minutes or until beetroot are tender. Remove from oven and leave to cool.
Remove skin and all white pith from the orange and cut crosswise into slices. Work over a bowl or a plate to catch as much of the juices as you can. Remove all skin and pith from the mandarin, and divide into segments.
Arrange spinach leaves on a serving platter. Tuck orange slices, mandarin segments and beetroot wedges in amongst the leaves. Sprinkle goat cheese over the top.
Make a dressing by mixing together the reserved citrus juice with walnut oil, in approximately equal parts. If you don't have much juice from the oranges, top up the "acidity ratio" with a little red wine vinegar. Season with freshly ground black pepper, and drizzle over the salad.
Top with a sprinkling of toasted walnuts and serve immediately.
If you would like to get to know Nigel Slater a little better, and to see all the other cheesy dishes that are on the menu this week, then do go and visit my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs and check out the links ...
... or check out Tender, Vol. 1 and Nigel's many other great titles available from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, or Fishpond NZ.
I'll also be sharing this post this week at See Ya In the Gumbo hosted by the delightful Michelle at Ms. enPlace, at Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays hosted by my lovely friend Deb at Kahakai Kitchen, at Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads, at Foodie Fridays hosted by Designs by Gollum, and at Cook Your Books hosted by the lovely Joyce at Kitchen Flavours.