Cranberry Spinach Salad
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered
- 1 pound spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 teaspoons minced onion
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook and stir almonds in butter until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and let cool.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, and vegetable oil. Toss with spinach just before serving.
- In a large bowl, combine the spinach with the toasted almonds and cranberries.
My husband and I have made this salad several times for ourselves and family members. I discovered spinach later in life and now it’s my favorite leafy indulgence. The dressing perfectly compliments spinach and the cranberries and almonds add tartness and texture.
I had the opportunity to share this salad with good friends of mine last evening. I am a member of a local book club who just finished reading Mayle’s A Year in Provence. We discussed the book at our normally scheduled time at the library, but agreed to continue the discussion Saturday evening in a manner similar to what we’d experienced vicariously through Mayle’s memoir. Our hostess not only volunteered her home but provided the main course of Beef Bourguignon. The rest of us divvied up the other courses among ourselves and several of us volunteered to bring various varieties of wine to complement each course.
I volunteered for the salad course specifically because I wanted to share this spinach salad with my friends. Creating the dressing took about five minutes, as did toasting the almonds and sesame seeds. Prepping the spinach took the longest, as I prefer to remove all the stems by hand and also tore the spinach into bite-sized pieces. To assuage the tedium, I started listening to my next audiobook: Agatha Christie’s The Man in the Brown Suit.
I bought a new container and salad tongs which I filled with the spinach, cranberries and almonds. I used an old pint-sized canning jar to transport the dressing in, as I didn’t want to dress the salad until immediately before serving. Earlier in the day, I’d visited a couple of local liquor stores in search for a red burgandy French wine, which I’d read was the ideal pairing with Beef Bourguignon. Alas, only one of the two local liquor stores carried French wine and none of them any burgandies. I found a red wine from Bordeaux which I hoped would compliment my hostess’ main course.
We enjoyed French cheeses, cashews, cranberry relish, olives, white and rose wines and excellent conversation before sitting down to the salad course. Everyone seemed to enjoy the salad, and I remember the hostess taking a second helping before gathering up the salad plates and presenting us with her exceptional Beef Bourguignon. I have never tasted a beef stew so divine. We also enjoyed a wonderful broccoli casserole and bread. For dessert, we raved about a pumpkin cake and pumpkin mouse while sipping coffee or tea or the last of the red wine from the main course. Four or five hours of sublime repast and lively conversation proved to be the highlight of my week. We are already talking about what ‘foodie’ book to read next year so we can repeat this adventure.