Sunday, January 17, 2010
Onions and Avocados and Apples, Oh My!
I've mentioned before that I've picked a new habit of reading cookbooks for fun... and while there are loads and loads of lovely recipes lingering on the internet just waiting to be tried, I do like picking up a cookbook once in awhile because it just gets my creative juices (and tastebuds) going.
Other days I will look at what I have in my refrigerator and pantry, plug in the key ingredients and see what comes up.
But on days like today, cozy and rainy and slow, I like to sit down with a cookbook and let the recipes tell me what to do. And my palate and my tummy are oh so pleased right now. This salad is a delightful mix of textures and tastes that work together at once, but also arrive one at a time to savor. Judge for yourself. (The photo featured here is the closest I could find to capturing what my salad looked like... substitute thin apple slices for the oranges in the photo... or use oranges. It's a free country.)
Onion-Wilted Spinach Salad with Cumin, Avocado and Apple
(The term "wilted" sounds so humdrum and floppy in other contexts... but in cooking it is wonderful! To wilt lettuce or spinach allows it to be slightly crisp still, but warmed up ever so subtly to conform with ingredients in a new way. Enjoy.)
1 medium apple (the recipe calls for tart apple, but I used a Pink Lady)
3 tb lemon juice
1 small, perfectly ripe avocado
3 tb olive oil
2 cups thickly-sliced onions into rings
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 pound cleaned, stemmed spinach
1/2 tsp salt
1. Cut the apple into thin slices onto a plate, drizzle with about 2 tsp of lemon juice. Cover the plate tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
2. Pour the remaining lemon juice onto a second plate. Peel and slice the avocado, place the slices in the lemon juice, and turn them over till they are well-coated.
3. Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized skillet. When it is very hot (I sprinkle water drops on it to see if they sizzle) add the onion rings and cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle in the cumin seeds, and cook for a minute longer.
4. Add the hot onion and cumin to the spinach, and toss until thoroughly mixed. The spinach will begin to wilt upon contact. To speed the process along -- and to be sure you include every last drop of oil -- add some of the spinach to the pan and swish it around to catch some oil. Then return everything into a large bowl.
5. Mix in the avocado and apple, including the lemon juice. Grind some pepper on it. Party party.
(Taken from Mollie Katzen's "Vegetable Heaven" cookbook - a steal from the clearance rack at Borders!)