Yeah, I love salads. My maternal grandmother had a repertoire of about twenty salads- she made one with supper every night. So salads are in my genes.
Spinach is great in the winter, strong and full of vitamins- plus it holds up to heavier salad partners like barley. This salad is rustic, nutty and nutritious (hello, fiber) and will take any dressing or vinaigrette that you like. Little purple half-crescents of red onion and sturdy Feta give a nice yin and yang of salty/sweet.
If I'm feeling like I need more protein, a grilled piece of salmon or white fish is perfect right on top. Though, most of the time, I'll just eat this as-is with a friendly drizzle of homemade French vinaigrette which is very good and tangy.
"I have a friend who loves this salad but hates spinach (left- over forced-feedings as a child), so she uses chopped Swiss chard in place of it. Still good!"
Notes: Olive oil is extra-virgin.
SPINACH AND BARLEY SALAD
Ingredients: 4 cups baby spinach, 1 1/2 cups cooked barley, 1/2 small red onion, 2 oz. Feta cheese. French Vinaigrette: 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar, 3 tbsp. shallots- chopped finely, 4 tsp. Dijon mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, pinch of salt, 1/3 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper.
1. Cook barley according to package instructions, you want to end up with about 1 1/2 cups.
2. Make French Vinaigrette: Whisk all ingredients together or shake up in a jar.
3. Massage 1/2 of the vinaigrette into the spinach leaves and set aside in a large bowl for five minutes.
3. Slice red onion into thin half-moons. Crumble the feta. Add barley, onion and Feta to spinach leaves, toss gently. Drizzle over more vinaigrette or serve on the side.