Friday, July 10, 2015

Summer Spinach Salad

When it's 100-degrees in the shade outside, a cool summer salad is just the right accompaniment to a harvest meal - or any meal.

Jill found this salad recipe on one of our favorite food blogs, Iowa Girl Eats, and suggested I try it, too. She had taken it to a church potluck and again to a work lunch. I had planned to follow suit and take it to a church potluck to say farewell to our departing pastor, but harvest field duty called instead. I guess my version also got served for a work lunch, in a manner of speaking. My lunch companions just had more dirt and grease on them than Jill's did.

Corn adds to the summer theme of the salad. You can use fresh corn, but I think it tends to be starchy raw, and I prefer thawed frozen corn in this type of recipe. I used green onion in my version of the salad, though the original recipe called for finely-chopped red onion. I like the milder onion, but use whatever you prefer.
From left front and clockwise: Green onion, dried cherries, toasted almonds, feta cheese surround corn in the center.
The dried cherries offer a sweet touch, and feta cheese lends a complementary tang. (You can also use blue cheese or chevre, but feta is what's readily available in my fridge.) Toasted almonds give the salad just the right amount of texture and crunch.

Then, a homemade Lemon Poppyseed Dressing brings it all together. You probably won't need all the dressing; I didn't. I just saved it for the next time I made the salad.  I served this salad twice during harvest - once as an accompaniment to BBQ meatballs and cheesy potatoes and again with a Spicy Sausage Pasta. However, this isn't a salad that saves well. You'll need to make it fresh each time, so adjust the amount of ingredients you use accordingly, and enjoy!
Summer Spinach Salad
with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats
5 ounces baby spinach
3/4 cup sweet corn (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup chopped green onion (or red onion)
2 ounces feta cheese
Lemon Poppyseed Dressing
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. poppy seeds
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine ingredients for Lemon Poppyseed Dressing in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake to combine.

Combine all salad ingredients in a large salad bowl. Drizzle on dressing to taste and toss to coat. I didn't use all the dressing for this amount of salad. You can save it for another day (and more salad)! When you refrigerate homemade dressing made with olive oil, it sets up in the fridge. Just remove it from the fridge and let it return to room temperature before using it.

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