We’re expecting a frost in upstate New York this week and that means great things for spinach! In order to keep from freezing the plant converts starch to sugar, so after a frost you’ll find spinach that has a sweeter, deeper flavor. This salad strikes a nice balance as we try to eat healthfully while honoring our seasonal craving for comfort food. It’s a really indulgent little cake of warm cheese with a crust of nutrient-dense seeds on a bed of hearty greens. A wonderful meal for a relaxed weekend chat with a friend, glass of wine in hand. Be sure to use a non-stick pan and a wide spatula--this will really help when cooking the cheese.
- 1⁄4cup pumpkin seed (hulled pepitas)
- 2tablespoons millet
- 2tablespoons sesame seed
- 4ounces soft goat cheese
- 2ounces soft blue cheese*
- 1⁄2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1⁄2teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 4cups spinach leaves, washed and dried
- 1⁄2teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1teaspoon sherry vinegar
- 11⁄2teaspoon hazelnut oil or extra virgin olive oil
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- *There has always been some question about whether or not blue cheese is gluten-free. The spores used to make some blue cheeses can be grown on bread made from rye or wheat. Everything current that we have read on the topic points to there being no detectable gluten (less than 20 ppm) in blue cheese even if it was made from these spores. If you think that you’re bothered by less than this amount, it’s probably best to stay away. Just replace the blue cheese with goat for an all goat cheese cake.
- Coarsely chop pumpkin seed, mix with millet and sesame, transfer mixture to a plate, set aside. Place the cheeses in a small bowl with rosemary and lemon zest, stir until well combined. Divide mixture into 4 pieces, form each into a small 1⁄2-inch thick disk. Pat seed mix all over cake, place in freezer on a plate while you make the dressing. 2
- In a medium bowl, whisk together Dijon, vinegar and a pinch of salt. Drizzle the oil in slowly, whisking vigorously, until emulsified. Toss dressing with salad to coat leaves thoroughly. Divide among four plates. 3
- Heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add cakes and sauté until the outside is crusty and golden, about 2 minutes. Use a spatula to carefully flip the cakes, cooking 2 minutes more. Place each cake on a salad, serve right away.