Monday, December 04, 2006

Spinach Apple Salad with Candied Almonds

This is a perennial family favorite, and a standard to take to potlucks. It is always well-received. It's easy, and the flavors are a good way to introduce kids to spinach (it's fairly sweet, the dressing isn't too strongly flavored, and kids usually are very happy about apple slices). The almonds are delicious, and any leftover would be great on ice cream. Theoretically, that is, as I've never had any left over. This is taken from Bon Appetit, with a few small adaptations. In my experience, if you make the full amount of dressing, you'll have way too much for one bag of spinach (unless you like your salad swimming in dressing). I'd either save the dressing to have salad again the next night, or cut the dressing in half. You can make the almonds and dressing in advance; slice apples and toss all together at the last minute.
1/4 cup minced onion
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons sugar (divided)
1/2 cup olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup blanched slivered almonds (about 3 ounces)

1 10- ounce bag ready-to-use spinach leaves
2 medium-size apples, cored, thinly sliced

Combine onion, cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, paprika in small bowl. Mix in 2 tablespoons sugar. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. (Note: I usually do this in my food processor-chopping the onion in the bowl then adding the other ingredients without cleaning out the bowl, finally drizzling the olive oil through the tube. You want the onion very finely chopped).

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add almonds. Stir until almonds begin to color, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon sugar over. Stir until sugar melts and begins to turn golden, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer almonds to bowl and cool. (Dressing and almonds can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Cover separately and let stand at room temperature.)

Combine spinach and apples in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Mix in almonds. Serve salad, passing any remaining dressing separately.

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