What: Baby Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds
Who: Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
This is hands-down one of my favorites from Jerusalem. The dates marinate together with the onions in vinegar for a short time. As a result, the onions are mellowed and the dates are slightly softened and take on a sweet-and-sour profile, which becomes incredibly pleasing against the salty, buttery, spicy toasted pita croutons and almonds. The sumac is the cherry on top – fruity and earthy and utterly unique to an American palette. The whole blissful thing is tossed in fresh lemon juice and olive oil for an overall perfect balance of savory, sweet, and sour.
Ottolenghi and Tamimi call for white wine vinegar, but I have also used apple cider vinegar for a slightly more healthful date-marinade. When I photographed this, I did not have pita, but used leftover sourdough bread cut into small cubes. It was just as fabulous.