This salad is based on the one at Maggiano’s Italian Restaurant, probably our favorite American franchise restaurant. We have been making a spinach salad for years, but never been able to get the combination of flavors quite right. Finally, last night the recipe came together. I did extensive research online and combined several recipes with amazing success. It was a big hit at the party we went to. One vegetarian even asked if it really was spinach:)
300 gr. spinach
1 red pepper
1 red onion
100 gr. roasted almonds*
oil for sauteing
I found this recipe (from Carrera Lee) for dressing and it is amazing. The key is the reduced vinegar… It makes it sweet and fills it with flavor. The only thing I changed was that I added 2-3 tsp. of raspberry jam instead of honey.
Wok saute the red peppers– on hot heat with just a bit of oil and only for a few 2 minutes. You want them to be only a little bit soft. Do the same to the onions and add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar at the end. The onions should be a bit crunchy and not all the way cooked.
*We roast the raw almonds on medium heat. (Of course if you have them already toasted that works too). It’s best to roast them whole and then chop them because if not, they will cook unevenly and some may even burn.
For the presentation, mix the spinach with half the dressing and some of the cheese. Then add the red pepper and red onion. Sprinkle on the almonds and top with cheese and the rest of the dressing.
Don’t mix it! Carlos started to and almost ruined my creation! (carlos: It’s not only “her” creation, I roasted the almonds)
p.s. if you want to see a picture of the real salad (with pine nuts instead of almond see this, from ThePatagonianToothFish)