Rivka of Not Derby Pie
crafted this recipe for Herb Salad with Dates and Sumac Croutons, a variation on a few different recipes from chef Yotam Ottolenghi. The exotic-yet-attainable dish is perfect for a mid-week meal boost.
For the croutons:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1/2 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2/3 cup sliced almonds
2 tsp sumac
2 tsp Turkish or Syrian chile flakes
1 tsp salt, to taste
1 clove garlic, smashed
For the salad:
8 dates, pitted and sliced
1 small red onion (or half a medium one), halved and sliced into thin rings
1 tablespoon white wine, champagne, or other mild vinegar
1 bunch (2 cups) dill, roughly chopped
1 bunch (2-3 cups) parsley leaves and chopped stems
1 bunch (1-2 cups) mint leaves
Zest and juice of one lemon, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepperInstructions:
1. In a small bowl, combine dates, onion slices, and vinegar. Set aside to marinate while you make the croutons. By the time you’re ready to make the salad, the vinegar should be absorbed. If not, pour out any remaining liquids.
2. In a large, shallow frying pan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic; it should sizzle when it hits the pan. Add baguette pieces and almonds, stir to coat with oil, and then add chile and sumac and stir to combine. Cook for 4-6 minutes, until bread and almonds have browned and everything smells wonderfully fragrant.
3. Transfer crouton mixture to a bowl and sprinkle with salt, starting with 1/2 teaspoon and adding more to taste. Set aside.
4. In a large mixing bowl, combine herbs, dates, onions, and croutons by the handful, until the balance of green to crunch looks right. Save whatever you don’t use for a meal later in the week; these croutons make everything taste good.
5. Before serving, whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste (but remember that croutons have salt of their own, so go light on the salt). Drizzle over salad, toss to combine, and serve.
Photo: Courtesy of Not Derby Pie